Science.gov

Sample records for food webs change

  1. Climate change: A rewired food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blanchard, Julia L.

    2015-11-01

    Climate change is causing large fish species to move into arctic marine environments. A network analysis finds that these fishes, with their generalist diets, add links to the existing food web that may alter biodiversity and web stability.

  2. Global change in the trophic functioning of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Maureaud, Aurore; Gascuel, Didier; Colléter, Mathieu; Palomares, Maria L D; Du Pontavice, Hubert; Pauly, Daniel; Cheung, William W L

    2017-01-01

    The development of fisheries in the oceans, and other human drivers such as climate warming, have led to changes in species abundance, assemblages, trophic interactions, and ultimately in the functioning of marine food webs. Here, using a trophodynamic approach and global databases of catches and life history traits of marine species, we tested the hypothesis that anthropogenic ecological impacts may have led to changes in the global parameters defining the transfers of biomass within the food web. First, we developed two indicators to assess such changes: the Time Cumulated Indicator (TCI) measuring the residence time of biomass within the food web, and the Efficiency Cumulated Indicator (ECI) quantifying the fraction of secondary production reaching the top of the trophic chain. Then, we assessed, at the large marine ecosystem scale, the worldwide change of these two indicators over the 1950-2010 time-periods. Global trends were identified and cluster analyses were used to characterize the variability of trends between ecosystems. Results showed that the most common pattern over the study period is a global decrease in TCI, while the ECI indicator tends to increase. Thus, changes in species assemblages would induce faster and apparently more efficient biomass transfers in marine food webs. Results also suggested that the main driver of change over that period had been the large increase in fishing pressure. The largest changes occurred in ecosystems where 'fishing down the marine food web' are most intensive.

  3. Global change in the trophic functioning of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gascuel, Didier; Colléter, Mathieu; Palomares, Maria L. D.; Du Pontavice, Hubert; Pauly, Daniel; Cheung, William W. L.

    2017-01-01

    The development of fisheries in the oceans, and other human drivers such as climate warming, have led to changes in species abundance, assemblages, trophic interactions, and ultimately in the functioning of marine food webs. Here, using a trophodynamic approach and global databases of catches and life history traits of marine species, we tested the hypothesis that anthropogenic ecological impacts may have led to changes in the global parameters defining the transfers of biomass within the food web. First, we developed two indicators to assess such changes: the Time Cumulated Indicator (TCI) measuring the residence time of biomass within the food web, and the Efficiency Cumulated Indicator (ECI) quantifying the fraction of secondary production reaching the top of the trophic chain. Then, we assessed, at the large marine ecosystem scale, the worldwide change of these two indicators over the 1950–2010 time-periods. Global trends were identified and cluster analyses were used to characterize the variability of trends between ecosystems. Results showed that the most common pattern over the study period is a global decrease in TCI, while the ECI indicator tends to increase. Thus, changes in species assemblages would induce faster and apparently more efficient biomass transfers in marine food webs. Results also suggested that the main driver of change over that period had been the large increase in fishing pressure. The largest changes occurred in ecosystems where ‘fishing down the marine food web’ are most intensive. PMID:28800358

  4. Changes in host-parasitoid food web structure with elevation.

    PubMed

    Maunsell, Sarah C; Kitching, Roger L; Burwell, Chris J; Morris, Rebecca J

    2015-03-01

    Gradients in elevation are increasingly used to investigate how species respond to changes in local climatic conditions. Whilst many studies have shown elevational patterns in species richness and turnover, little is known about how food web structure is affected by elevation. Contrasting responses of predator and prey species to elevation may lead to changes in food web structure. We investigated how the quantitative structure of a herbivore-parasitoid food web changes with elevation in an Australian subtropical rain forest. On four occasions, spread over 1 year, we hand-collected leaf miners at twelve sites, along three elevational gradients (between 493 m and 1159 m a.s.l). A total of 5030 insects, including 603 parasitoids, were reared, and summary food webs were created for each site. We also carried out a replicated manipulative experiment by translocating an abundant leaf-mining weevil Platynotocis sp., which largely escaped parasitism at high elevations (≥ 900 m a.s.l.), to lower, warmer elevations, to test if it would experience higher parasitism pressure. We found strong evidence that the environmental change that occurs with increasing elevation affects food web structure. Quantitative measures of generality, vulnerability and interaction evenness decreased significantly with increasing elevation (and decreasing temperature), whilst elevation did not have a significant effect on connectance. Mined plant composition also had a significant effect on generality and vulnerability, but not on interaction evenness. Several relatively abundant species of leaf miner appeared to escape parasitism at higher elevations, but contrary to our prediction, Platynotocis sp. did not experience greater levels of parasitism when translocated to lower elevations. Our study indicates that leaf-mining herbivores and their parasitoids respond differently to environmental conditions imposed by elevation, thus producing structural changes in their food webs. Increasing

  5. Soil food web changes during spontaneous succession at post mining sites: a possible ecosystem engineering effect on food web organization?

    PubMed

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1- 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel.

  6. Does cadmium pollution change trophic interactions in rockpool food webs?

    SciTech Connect

    Koivisto, S.; Arner, M.; Kautsky, N.

    1997-06-01

    The authors studied the regulation of phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass in rockpool food webs under chronic cadmium pollution. Experimental food webs with two and three trophic levels were composed of phytoplankton, small-bodied zooplankton (Chydorus sphaericus, Cyclops sp., and rotifers), Daphnia magna, and Notonecta sp., a zooplanktivorous predator. Every food web received a control and cadmium treatment allowing a separate study of cadmium and predation effects. After a 3-week stabilization period, cadmium and Notonecta were added and changes in primary productivity, chlorophyll, zooplankton species composition, and biomass were followed during 8 weeks. The results showed that phytoplankton and Daphnia were consumer regulated in both control and cadmium treatments, although resource availability ultimately determined the biomass at each trophic level. Daphnia was the only zooplankton species that reduced phytoplankton and also the only species that was eliminated by Notonecta predation. Notonecta had an indirect positive impact on phytoplankton biomass that increased after the extinction of Daphnia. Cadmium significantly reduced phytoplankton and Daphnia but did not change the trophic interactions between them, i.e., Daphnia and chlorophyll were significantly negatively correlated both in the control and cadmium treatments. Cadmium did not affect the relationship between Daphnia and Notonecta.

  7. Complementary molecular information changes our perception of food web structure.

    PubMed

    Wirta, Helena K; Hebert, Paul D N; Kaartinen, Riikka; Prosser, Sean W; Várkonyi, Gergely; Roslin, Tomas

    2014-02-04

    How networks of ecological interactions are structured has a major impact on their functioning. However, accurately resolving both the nodes of the webs and the links between them is fraught with difficulties. We ask whether the new resolution conferred by molecular information changes perceptions of network structure. To probe a network of antagonistic interactions in the High Arctic, we use two complementary sources of molecular data: parasitoid DNA sequenced from the tissues of their hosts and host DNA sequenced from the gut of adult parasitoids. The information added by molecular analysis radically changes the properties of interaction structure. Overall, three times as many interaction types were revealed by combining molecular information from parasitoids and hosts with rearing data, versus rearing data alone. At the species level, our results alter the perceived host specificity of parasitoids, the parasitoid load of host species, and the web-wide role of predators with a cryptic lifestyle. As the northernmost network of host-parasitoid interactions quantified, our data point exerts high leverage on global comparisons of food web structure. However, how we view its structure will depend on what information we use: compared with variation among networks quantified at other sites, the properties of our web vary as much or much more depending on the techniques used to reconstruct it. We thus urge ecologists to combine multiple pieces of evidence in assessing the structure of interaction webs, and suggest that current perceptions of interaction structure may be strongly affected by the methods used to construct them.

  8. Complementary molecular information changes our perception of food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Wirta, Helena K.; Hebert, Paul D. N.; Kaartinen, Riikka; Prosser, Sean W.; Várkonyi, Gergely; Roslin, Tomas

    2014-01-01

    How networks of ecological interactions are structured has a major impact on their functioning. However, accurately resolving both the nodes of the webs and the links between them is fraught with difficulties. We ask whether the new resolution conferred by molecular information changes perceptions of network structure. To probe a network of antagonistic interactions in the High Arctic, we use two complementary sources of molecular data: parasitoid DNA sequenced from the tissues of their hosts and host DNA sequenced from the gut of adult parasitoids. The information added by molecular analysis radically changes the properties of interaction structure. Overall, three times as many interaction types were revealed by combining molecular information from parasitoids and hosts with rearing data, versus rearing data alone. At the species level, our results alter the perceived host specificity of parasitoids, the parasitoid load of host species, and the web-wide role of predators with a cryptic lifestyle. As the northernmost network of host–parasitoid interactions quantified, our data point exerts high leverage on global comparisons of food web structure. However, how we view its structure will depend on what information we use: compared with variation among networks quantified at other sites, the properties of our web vary as much or much more depending on the techniques used to reconstruct it. We thus urge ecologists to combine multiple pieces of evidence in assessing the structure of interaction webs, and suggest that current perceptions of interaction structure may be strongly affected by the methods used to construct them. PMID:24449902

  9. Soil Food Web Changes during Spontaneous Succession at Post Mining Sites: A Possible Ecosystem Engineering Effect on Food Web Organization?

    PubMed Central

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C.

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1– 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel. PMID:24260281

  10. Trophic structure of coastal Antarctic food webs associated with changes in sea ice and food supply.

    PubMed

    Norkko, A; Thrush, S F; Cummings, V J; Gibbs, M M; Andrew, N L; Norkko, J; Schwarz, A M

    2007-11-01

    Predicting the dynamics of ecosystems requires an understanding of how trophic interactions respond to environmental change. In Antarctic marine ecosystems, food web dynamics are inextricably linked to sea ice conditions that affect the nature and magnitude of primary food sources available to higher trophic levels. Recent attention on the changing sea ice conditions in polar seas highlights the need to better understand how marine food webs respond to changes in such broad-scale environmental drivers. This study investigated the importance of sea ice and advected primary food sources to the structure of benthic food webs in coastal Antarctica. We compared the isotopic composition of several seafloor taxa (including primary producers and invertebrates with a variety of feeding modes) that are widely distributed in the Antarctic. We assessed shifts in the trophic role of numerically dominant benthic omnivores at five coastal Ross Sea locations. These locations vary in primary productivity and food availability, due to their different levels of sea ice cover, and proximity to polynyas and advected primary production. The delta15N signatures and isotope mixing model results for the bivalves Laternula elliptica and Adamussium colbecki and the urchin Sterechinus neumeyeri indicate a shift from consumption of a higher proportion of detritus at locations with more permanent sea ice in the south to more freshly produced algal material associated with proximity to ice-free water in the north and east. The detrital pathways utilized by many benthic species may act to dampen the impacts of large seasonal fluctuations in the availability of primary production. The limiting relationship between sea ice distribution and in situ primary productivity emphasizes the role of connectivity and spatial subsidies of organic matter in fueling the food web. Our results begin to provide a basis for predicting how benthic ecosystems will respond to changes in sea ice persistence and extent

  11. Weaving marine food webs from end to end under global change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moloney, Coleen L.; St John, Michael A.; Denman, Kenneth L.; Karl, David M.; Köster, Friedrich W.; Sundby, Svein; Wilson, Rory P.

    2011-02-01

    Marine food web dynamics are determined by interactions within and between species and between species and their environment. Global change directly affects abiotic conditions and living organisms, impinging on all trophic levels in food webs. Different groups of marine researchers traditionally study different aspects of these changes. However, over medium to long time scales perturbations affecting food webs need to be considered across the full range from nutrients to top predators. Studies of end-to-end marine food webs not only span organism sizes and trophic levels, but should also help align multidisciplinary research to common goals and perspectives. Topics are described that bridge disciplinary gaps and are needed to develop new understanding of the reciprocal impacts of global change on marine food webs and ocean biogeochemistry. These include (1) the effects of nutrients on biomass and production, (2) the effects of varying element ratios on food web structure and food quality, (3) bulk flows of energy and material in food webs and their efficiencies of transfer, (4) the ecological effects of species richness and the roles of microbial organisms, (5) the role of feeding behaviour in food web dynamics and trophic controls, (6) the spatial dynamics of communities and links between different food webs, (7) the combined effects of body size and behaviour in determining dynamics of food webs, and (8) the extent to which the ability of marine organisms (and communities) to adapt will influence food web dynamics. An overriding issue that influences all topics concerns the time and space scales of ecosystem variability. Threads link different nodes of information among various topics, emphasizing the importance of tackling food web studies with a variety of modelling approaches and through a combination of field and experimental studies with a strong comparative approach.

  12. Community food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; El-Shaarawi, Abdel H.; Piegorsch, Walter W.

    2002-01-01

    Community food webs describe the feeding relationships, or trophic interactions, between the species of an ecological community. Both the structure and dynamics of such webs are the focus of food web research. The topological structures of empirical food webs from many ecosystems have been published on the basis of field studies and they form the foundation for theory concerning the mean number of trophic levels, the mean number of trophic connections versus number of species, and other food web measures, which show consistency across different ecosystems. The dynamics of food webs are influenced by indirect interactions, in which changes in the level of a population in one part of the food web may have indirect effects throughout the web. The mechanisms of these interactions are typically studied microcosm experiments, or sometimes in-field experiments. The use of mathematical models is also a major approach to understanding the effects of indirect interactions. Both empirical and mathematical studies have revealed important properties of food webs, such as keystone predators and trophic cascades.

  13. Trophic transfer of contaminants in a changing arctic marine food web: Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, Canada.

    PubMed

    McKinney, Melissa A; McMeans, Bailey C; Tomy, Gregg T; Rosenberg, Bruno; Ferguson, Steven H; Morris, Adam; Muir, Derek C G; Fisk, Aaron T

    2012-09-18

    Contaminant dynamics in arctic marine food webs may be impacted by current climate-induced food web changes including increases in transient/subarctic species. We quantified food web organochlorine transfer in the Cumberland Sound (Nunavut, Canada) arctic marine food web in the presence of transient species using species-specific biomagnification factors (BMFs), trophic magnification factors (TMFs), and a multifactor model that included δ(15)N-derived trophic position and species habitat range (transient versus resident), and also considered δ(13)C-derived carbon source, thermoregulatory group, and season. Transient/subarctic species relative to residents had higher prey-to-predator BMFs of biomagnifying contaminants (1.4 to 62 for harp seal, Greenland shark, and narwhal versus 1.1 to 20 for ringed seal, arctic skate, and beluga whale, respectively). For contaminants that biomagnified in a transient-and-resident food web and a resident-only food web scenario, TMFs were higher in the former (2.3 to 10.1) versus the latter (1.7 to 4.0). Transient/subarctic species have higher tissue contaminant levels and greater BMFs likely due to higher energetic requirements associated with long-distance movements or consumption of more contaminated prey in regions outside of Cumberland Sound. These results demonstrate that, in addition to climate change-related long-range transport/deposition/revolatilization changes, increasing numbers of transient/subarctic animals may alter food web contaminant dynamics.

  14. Climate change impacts in multispecies systems: drought alters food web size structure in a field experiment.

    PubMed

    Woodward, Guy; Brown, Lee E; Edwards, Francois K; Hudson, Lawrence N; Milner, Alexander M; Reuman, Daniel C; Ledger, Mark E

    2012-11-05

    Experimental data from intergenerational field manipulations of entire food webs are scarce, yet such approaches are essential for gauging impacts of environmental change in natural systems. We imposed 2 years of intermittent drought on stream channels in a replicated field trial, to measure food web responses to simulated climate change. Drought triggered widespread losses of species and links, with larger taxa and those that were rare for their size, many of which were predatory, being especially vulnerable. Many network properties, including size-scaling relationships within food chains, changed in response to drought. Other properties, such as connectance, were unaffected. These findings highlight the need for detailed experimental data from different organizational levels, from pairwise links to the entire food web. The loss of not only large species, but also those that were rare for their size, provides a newly refined way to gauge likely impacts that may be applied more generally to other systems and/or impacts.

  15. Climate change impacts in multispecies systems: drought alters food web size structure in a field experiment

    PubMed Central

    Woodward, Guy; Brown, Lee E.; Edwards, Francois K.; Hudson, Lawrence N.; Milner, Alexander M.; Reuman, Daniel C.; Ledger, Mark E.

    2012-01-01

    Experimental data from intergenerational field manipulations of entire food webs are scarce, yet such approaches are essential for gauging impacts of environmental change in natural systems. We imposed 2 years of intermittent drought on stream channels in a replicated field trial, to measure food web responses to simulated climate change. Drought triggered widespread losses of species and links, with larger taxa and those that were rare for their size, many of which were predatory, being especially vulnerable. Many network properties, including size–scaling relationships within food chains, changed in response to drought. Other properties, such as connectance, were unaffected. These findings highlight the need for detailed experimental data from different organizational levels, from pairwise links to the entire food web. The loss of not only large species, but also those that were rare for their size, provides a newly refined way to gauge likely impacts that may be applied more generally to other systems and/or impacts. PMID:23007087

  16. Climate change-contaminant interactions in marine food webs: Toward a conceptual framework.

    PubMed

    Alava, Juan José; Cheung, William W L; Ross, Peter S; Sumaila, U Rashid

    2017-10-01

    Climate change is reshaping the way in which contaminants move through the global environment, in large part by changing the chemistry of the oceans and affecting the physiology, health, and feeding ecology of marine biota. Climate change-associated impacts on structure and function of marine food webs, with consequent changes in contaminant transport, fate, and effects, are likely to have significant repercussions to those human populations that rely on fisheries resources for food, recreation, or culture. Published studies on climate change-contaminant interactions with a focus on food web bioaccumulation were systematically reviewed to explore how climate change and ocean acidification may impact contaminant levels in marine food webs. We propose here a conceptual framework to illustrate the impacts of climate change on contaminant accumulation in marine food webs, as well as the downstream consequences for ecosystem goods and services. The potential impacts on social and economic security for coastal communities that depend on fisheries for food are discussed. Climate change-contaminant interactions may alter the bioaccumulation of two priority contaminant classes: the fat-soluble persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as the protein-binding methylmercury (MeHg). These interactions include phenomena deemed to be either climate change dominant (i.e., climate change leads to an increase in contaminant exposure) or contaminant dominant (i.e., contamination leads to an increase in climate change susceptibility). We illustrate the pathways of climate change-contaminant interactions using case studies in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. The important role of ecological and food web modeling to inform decision-making in managing ecological and human health risks of chemical pollutants contamination under climate change is also highlighted. Finally, we identify the need to develop integrated policies that manage the

  17. Topographically driven predictions for river food webs: responses to land cover and climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, M. E.; Dietrich, W. E.; Finlay, J. C.; Bode, C. A.; Hondzo, M.; Limm, M.; National CenterEarth Surface Dynamics

    2011-12-01

    Fluxes of materials and energy, as well as the performances and interactions of organisms in food webs are strongly influenced by topography and vegetation. We have been using a "predictive mapping" approach to investigate how resource fluxes and food web interactions change down the Eel River drainage network in Northwestern California. In this talk, I will focus on hydrologic and food web controls on the production and fate of dominant primary producers in the river (macroalgae, diatoms and cyanobacteria). Algal mediated processes (e.g. nitrogen-fixation) and processes that limit algal abundance (e.g. grazer control) change abruptly through the season and down drainage networks. Field surveys and mensurative experiments that map the drainage network positions of these changes, and manipulative field experiments that uncover their causes, set the stage for predictive mapping, which is necessary if not sufficient for forecasts of river ecosystem response to changes in climate, land use, or biota.

  18. The Serengeti food web: empirical quantification and analysis of topological changes under increasing human impact.

    PubMed

    de Visser, Sara N; Freymann, Bernd P; Olff, Han

    2011-03-01

    1. To address effects of land use and human overexploitation on wildlife populations, it is essential to better understand how human activities have changed species composition, diversity and functioning. Theoretical studies modelled how network properties change under human-induced, non-random species loss. However, we lack data on realistic species-loss sequences in threatened, real-world food webs to parameterize these models. 2. Here, we present a first size-structured topological food web of one of the most pristine terrestrial ecosystems in the world, the Serengeti ecosystem (Tanzania). The food web consists of 95 grouped nodes and includes both invertebrates and vertebrates ranging from body masses between 10(-7) and 10(4) kg. 3. We study the topological changes in this food web that result from the simulated IUCN-based species-loss sequence representing current species vulnerability to human disturbances in and around this savanna ecosystem. We then compare this realistic extinction scenario with other extinction sequences based on body size and connectance and perform an analysis of robustness of this savanna food web. 4. We demonstrate that real-world species loss in this case starts with the biggest (mega) herbivores and top predators, causing higher predator-prey mass ratios. However, unlike theoretically modelled linear species deletion sequences, this causes poor-connected species to be lost first, while more highly connected species become lost as human impact progresses. This food web shows high robustness to decreasing body size and increasing connectance deletion sequences compared with a high sensitivity to the decreasing connectance deletion scenario. 5. Furthermore, based on the current knowledge of the Serengeti ecosystem, we discuss how the focus on food web topology alone, disregarding nontrophic interactions, may lead to an underestimation of human impacts on wildlife communities, with the number of trophic links affected by a

  19. MONITORING FOOD WEB CHANGES IN TIDE-RESTORED SALT MARSHES: A CARBON STABLE ISOTOPE APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Primary producer (angiosperms, macroalgae, submerged aquatic vegetation), suspended particulate matter, and Fundulus heteroclitus isotope values (d13C , d15N, d34S) were examined to assess their use as an indicator for changes in food web support functions in tidally-restored sal...

  20. MONITORING FOOD WEB CHANGES IN TIDE-RESTORED SALT MARSHES: A CARBON STABLE ISOTOPE APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Primary producer (angiosperms, macroalgae, submerged aquatic vegetation), suspended particulate matter, and Fundulus heteroclitus isotope values (d13C , d15N, d34S) were examined to assess their use as an indicator for changes in food web support functions in tidally-restored sal...

  1. Climate change impacts on body size and food web structure on mountain ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lurgi, Miguel; López, Bernat C; Montoya, José M

    2012-11-05

    The current distribution of climatic conditions will be rearranged on the globe. To survive, species will have to keep pace with climates as they move. Mountains are among the most affected regions owing to both climate and land-use change. Here, we explore the effects of climate change in the vertebrate food web of the Pyrenees. We investigate elevation range expansions between two time-periods illustrative of warming conditions, to assess: (i) the taxonomic composition of range expanders; (ii) changes in food web properties such as the distribution of links per species and community size-structure; and (iii) what are the specific traits of range expanders that set them apart from the other species in the community-in particular, body mass, diet generalism, vulnerability and trophic position within the food web. We found an upward expansion of species at all elevations, which was not even for all taxonomic groups and trophic positions. At low and intermediate elevations, predator : prey mass ratios were significantly reduced. Expanders were larger, had fewer predators and were, in general, more specialists. Our study shows that elevation range expansions as climate warms have important and predictable impacts on the structure and size distribution of food webs across space.

  2. Climate change impacts on body size and food web structure on mountain ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Lurgi, Miguel; López, Bernat C.; Montoya, José M.

    2012-01-01

    The current distribution of climatic conditions will be rearranged on the globe. To survive, species will have to keep pace with climates as they move. Mountains are among the most affected regions owing to both climate and land-use change. Here, we explore the effects of climate change in the vertebrate food web of the Pyrenees. We investigate elevation range expansions between two time-periods illustrative of warming conditions, to assess: (i) the taxonomic composition of range expanders; (ii) changes in food web properties such as the distribution of links per species and community size-structure; and (iii) what are the specific traits of range expanders that set them apart from the other species in the community—in particular, body mass, diet generalism, vulnerability and trophic position within the food web. We found an upward expansion of species at all elevations, which was not even for all taxonomic groups and trophic positions. At low and intermediate elevations, predator : prey mass ratios were significantly reduced. Expanders were larger, had fewer predators and were, in general, more specialists. Our study shows that elevation range expansions as climate warms have important and predictable impacts on the structure and size distribution of food webs across space. PMID:23007094

  3. From projected species distribution to food-web structure under climate change.

    PubMed

    Albouy, Camille; Velez, Laure; Coll, Marta; Colloca, Francesco; Le Loc'h, François; Mouillot, David; Gravel, Dominique

    2014-03-01

    Climate change is inducing deep modifications in species geographic ranges worldwide. However, the consequences of such changes on community structure are still poorly understood, particularly the impacts on food-web properties. Here, we propose a new framework, coupling species distribution and trophic models, to predict climate change impacts on food-web structure across the Mediterranean Sea. Sea surface temperature was used to determine the fish climate niches and their future distributions. Body size was used to infer trophic interactions between fish species. Our projections reveal that 54 fish species of 256 endemic and native species included in our analysis would disappear by 2080-2099 from the Mediterranean continental shelf. The number of feeding links between fish species would decrease on 73.4% of the continental shelf. However, the connectance of the overall fish web would increase on average, from 0.26 to 0.29, mainly due to a differential loss rate of feeding links and species richness. This result masks a systematic decrease in predator generality, estimated here as the number of prey species, from 30.0 to 25.4. Therefore, our study highlights large-scale impacts of climate change on marine food-web structure with potential deep consequences on ecosystem functioning. However, these impacts will likely be highly heterogeneous in space, challenging our current understanding of climate change impact on local marine ecosystems. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Nearshore energy subsidies support Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates following major changes in food web structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Turschak, Benjamin A; Bunnell, David B.; Czesny, Sergiusz J.; Höök, Tomas O.; Janssen, John; Warner, David M.; Bootsma, Harvey A

    2014-01-01

    Aquatic food webs that incorporate multiple energy channels (e.g. nearshore benthic or pelagic) with varying productivity and turnover rates convey stability to biological communities by providing multiple independent energy sources. Within the Lake Michigan food web, invasive dreissenid mussels have caused rapid changes to food web structure and potentially altered the channels through which consumers acquire energy. We used stable C and N isotopes to determine how Lake Michigan food web structure has changed in the past decade, coincident with the expansion of dreissenid mussels, decreased pelagic phytoplankton production and increased nearshore benthic algal production. Fish and invertebrate samples collected from sites around Lake Michigan were analyzed to determine taxa-specific 13C:12C (delta 13C) and 15N:14N (delta 15N) ratios. Sampling took place during two distinct periods, 2002-2003 and 2010-2012, that spanned the period of dreissenid expansion, and included nearshore, pelagic and profundal fish and invertebrate taxa. Magnitude and direction of the 13C shift indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates. Although the mechanisms underlying this 13C shift likely varied among species, possible causes include the transport of benthic algal production to offshore waters and an increased reliance on nearshore prey items. Delta 15N shifts were more variable and of smaller magnitude across taxa although declines in delta 15N among some pelagic fishes may indicate a shift to alternative prey resources. Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates appear to have responded to dreissenid induced changes in nutrient and energy pathways by switching from pelagic to alternative nearshore energy subsidies. Although large shifts in energy allocation (i.e. pelagic to nearshore benthic) resulting from invasive species appear to have affected total production at upper trophic

  5. Nearshore energy subsidies support Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates following major changes in food web structure.

    PubMed

    Turschak, Benjamin A; Bunnell, David; Czesny, Sergiusz; Höök, Tomas O; Janssen, John; Warner, David; Bootsma, Harvey A

    2014-05-01

    Aquatic food webs that incorporate multiple energy channels (e.g., nearshore benthic and pelagic) with varying productivity and turnover rates convey stability to biological communities by providing independent energy sources. Within the Lake Michigan food web, invasive dreissenid mussels have caused rapid changes to food web structure and potentially altered the channels through which consumers acquire energy. We used stable C and N isotopes to determine how Lake Michigan food web structure has changed in the past decade, coincident with the expansion of dreissenid mussels, decreased pelagic phytoplankton production, and increased nearshore benthic algal production. Fish and invertebrate samples collected from sites around Lake Michigan were analyzed to determine taxa-specific 13C:12C (delta13C) and 15N:14N (delta15N) ratios. Sampling took place during two distinct periods, 2002-2003 and 2010-2012, that spanned the period of dreissenid expansion, and included nearshore, pelagic and profundal fish and invertebrate taxa. The magnitude and direction of the delta13C shift indicated significantly greater reliance upon nearshore benthic energy sources among nearly all fish taxa as well as profundal invertebrates following dreissenid expansion. Although the mechanisms underlying this delta13C shift likely varied among species, possible causes include the transport of benthic algal production to offshore waters and increased feeding on nearshore prey items by pelagic and profundal species. delta15N shifts were more variable and of smaller magnitude across taxa, although declines in delta15N among some pelagic fishes suggest a shift to alternative prey resources. Lake Michigan fishes and invertebrates appear to have responded to dreissenid-induced changes in nutrient and energy pathways by switching from pelagic to alternative nearshore energy subsidies. Although large shifts in energy allocation (i.e., pelagic to nearshore benthic) resulting from invasive species appear

  6. Warming-induced changes in predation, extinction and invasion in an ectotherm food web.

    PubMed

    Seifert, Linda I; Weithoff, Guntram; Gaedke, Ursula; Vos, Matthijs

    2015-06-01

    Climate change will alter the forces of predation and competition in temperate ectotherm food webs. This may increase local extinction rates, change the fate of invasions and impede species reintroductions into communities. Invasion success could be modulated by traits (e.g., defenses) and adaptations to climate. We studied how different temperatures affect the time until extinction of species, using bitrophic and tritrophic planktonic food webs to evaluate the relative importance of predatory overexploitation and competitive exclusion, at 15 and 25 °C. In addition, we tested how inclusion of a subtropical as opposed to a temperate strain in this model food web affects times until extinction. Further, we studied the invasion success of the temperate rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus into the planktonic food web at 15 and 25 °C on five consecutive introduction dates, during which the relative forces of predation and competition differed. A higher temperature dramatically shortened times until extinction of all herbivore species due to carnivorous overexploitation in tritrophic systems. Surprisingly, warming did not increase rates of competitive exclusion among the tested herbivore species in bitrophic communities. Including a subtropical herbivore strain reduced top-down control by the carnivore at high temperature. Invasion attempts of temperate B. calyciflorus into the food web always succeeded at 15 °C, but consistently failed at 25 °C due to voracious overexploitation by the carnivore. Pre-induction of defenses (spines) in B. calyciflorus before the invasion attempt did not change its invasion success at the high temperature. We conclude that high temperatures may promote local extinctions in temperate ectotherms and reduce their chances of successful recovery.

  7. Farming practices change food web structures in cereal aphid-parasitoid-hyperparasitoid communities.

    PubMed

    Lohaus, Katharina; Vidal, Stefan; Thies, Carsten

    2013-01-01

    Agricultural intensification has been shown to result in a decline in biodiversity across many taxa, but the changes in community structure and species interactions remain little understood. We have analysed and compared the structure of feeding interactions for cereal aphids and their primary and secondary parasitoids in organically and conventionally managed winter wheat fields using quantitative food web metrics (interaction evenness, generality, vulnerability, link density). Despite little variation in the richness of each trophic group, food web structures between the two farming systems differed remarkably. In contrast to common expectations, aphids and primary parasitoids were characterized by (1) a higher evenness of interaction frequencies (interaction evenness) in conventional fields, which cascaded to interactions at the next trophic level, with (2) a higher interaction evenness, (3) a higher ratio of primary parasitoid taxa per secondary parasitoid (generality) and (4) a higher link density. Aphid communities in the organically managed fields almost exclusively consisted of a single ear-colonizing species, Sitobion avenae, while highly fertilized conventional fields were mainly infested by leaf-colonizing aphids that benefit from the nutritional status of winter wheat. In conclusion, agricultural intensification appears to foster the complexity of aphid-parasitoid food webs, thereby not supporting the general expectation on the importance of organic farming practices for species richness and food web complexity.

  8. Dams and downstream aquatic biodiversity: Potential food web consequences of hydrologic and geomorphic change

    SciTech Connect

    Power, M.E.; Dietrich, W.E.; Finlay, J.C.

    1996-11-01

    Responses of rivers and river ecosystems to dams are complex and varied, as they depend on local sediment supplies, geomorphic constraints, climate, dam structure and operation, and key attributes of the biota. Therefore, {open_quotes}one-size-fits-all{close_quotes} prescriptions cannot substitute for local knowledge in developing prescriptions for dam structure and operation to protect local biodiversity. One general principle is self-evident: that biodiversity is best protected in rivers where physical regimes are the most natural. A sufficiently natural regime of flow variation is particularly crucial for river biota and food webs. We review our research and that of others to illustrate the ecological importance of alternating periods of low an high flow, of periodic bed scour, and of floodplain inundation and dewatering. These fluctuations regulate both the life cycles of river biota and species interactions in the food webs that sustain them. Even if the focus of biodiversity conservation efforts is on a target species rather than whole ecosystems, a food web perspective is necessary, because populations of any species depend critically on how their resources, prey, and potential predators also respond to environmental change. In regulated rivers, managers must determine how the frequency, magnitude, and timing of hydrologic events interact to constrain or support species and food webs. Simple ecological modeling, tailored to local systems, may provide a framework and some insight into explaining ecosystem response to dams and should give direction to mitigation efforts. 78 refs.

  9. Fun With Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Karl D.

    1977-01-01

    Explains an upper elementary game of tag that illustrates energy flow in food webs using candy bars as food sources. A follow-up field trip to a river and five language arts projects are also suggested. (CS)

  10. Fun With Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Karl D.

    1977-01-01

    Explains an upper elementary game of tag that illustrates energy flow in food webs using candy bars as food sources. A follow-up field trip to a river and five language arts projects are also suggested. (CS)

  11. The Impact of 850,000 Years of Climate Changes on the Structure and Dynamics of Mammal Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Nenzén, Hedvig K.; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities. PMID:25207754

  12. The impact of 850,000 years of climate changes on the structure and dynamics of mammal food webs.

    PubMed

    Nenzén, Hedvig K; Montoya, Daniel; Varela, Sara

    2014-01-01

    Most evidence of climate change impacts on food webs comes from modern studies and little is known about how ancient food webs have responded to climate changes in the past. Here, we integrate fossil evidence from 71 fossil sites, body-size relationships and actualism to reconstruct food webs for six large mammal communities that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula at different times during the Quaternary. We quantify the long-term dynamics of these food webs and study how their structure changed across the Quaternary, a period for which fossil data and climate changes are well known. Extinction, immigration and turnover rates were correlated with climate changes in the last 850 kyr. Yet, we find differences in the dynamics and structural properties of Pleistocene versus Holocene mammal communities that are not associated with glacial-interglacial cycles. Although all Quaternary mammal food webs were highly nested and robust to secondary extinctions, general food web properties changed in the Holocene. These results highlight the ability of communities to re-organize with the arrival of phylogenetically similar species without major structural changes, and the impact of climate change and super-generalist species (humans) on Iberian Holocene mammal communities.

  13. Climate change alters the structure of arctic marine food webs due to poleward shifts of boreal generalists

    PubMed Central

    Kortsch, Susanne; Primicerio, Raul; Fossheim, Maria; Dolgov, Andrey V.; Aschan, Michaela

    2015-01-01

    Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning. PMID:26336179

  14. Climate change alters the structure of arctic marine food webs due to poleward shifts of boreal generalists.

    PubMed

    Kortsch, Susanne; Primicerio, Raul; Fossheim, Maria; Dolgov, Andrey V; Aschan, Michaela

    2015-09-07

    Climate-driven poleward shifts, leading to changes in species composition and relative abundances, have been recently documented in the Arctic. Among the fastest moving species are boreal generalist fish which are expected to affect arctic marine food web structure and ecosystem functioning substantially. Here, we address structural changes at the food web level induced by poleward shifts via topological network analysis of highly resolved boreal and arctic food webs of the Barents Sea. We detected considerable differences in structural properties and link configuration between the boreal and the arctic food webs, the latter being more modular and less connected. We found that a main characteristic of the boreal fish moving poleward into the arctic region of the Barents Sea is high generalism, a property that increases connectance and reduces modularity in the arctic marine food web. Our results reveal that habitats form natural boundaries for food web modules, and that generalists play an important functional role in coupling pelagic and benthic modules. We posit that these habitat couplers have the potential to promote the transfer of energy and matter between habitats, but also the spread of pertubations, thereby changing arctic marine food web structure considerably with implications for ecosystem dynamics and functioning. © 2015 The Authors.

  15. Human Impacts and Climate Change Influence Nestedness and Modularity in Food-Web and Mutualistic Networks.

    PubMed

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kajihara, Kosuke

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical studies have indicated that nestedness and modularity-non-random structural patterns of ecological networks-influence the stability of ecosystems against perturbations; as such, climate change and human activity, as well as other sources of environmental perturbations, affect the nestedness and modularity of ecological networks. However, the effects of climate change and human activities on ecological networks are poorly understood. Here, we used a spatial analysis approach to examine the effects of climate change and human activities on the structural patterns of food webs and mutualistic networks, and found that ecological network structure is globally affected by climate change and human impacts, in addition to current climate. In pollination networks, for instance, nestedness increased and modularity decreased in response to increased human impacts. Modularity in seed-dispersal networks decreased with temperature change (i.e., warming), whereas food web nestedness increased and modularity declined in response to global warming. Although our findings are preliminary owing to data-analysis limitations, they enhance our understanding of the effects of environmental change on ecological communities.

  16. Human Impacts and Climate Change Influence Nestedness and Modularity in Food-Web and Mutualistic Networks

    PubMed Central

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kajihara, Kosuke

    2016-01-01

    Theoretical studies have indicated that nestedness and modularity—non-random structural patterns of ecological networks—influence the stability of ecosystems against perturbations; as such, climate change and human activity, as well as other sources of environmental perturbations, affect the nestedness and modularity of ecological networks. However, the effects of climate change and human activities on ecological networks are poorly understood. Here, we used a spatial analysis approach to examine the effects of climate change and human activities on the structural patterns of food webs and mutualistic networks, and found that ecological network structure is globally affected by climate change and human impacts, in addition to current climate. In pollination networks, for instance, nestedness increased and modularity decreased in response to increased human impacts. Modularity in seed-dispersal networks decreased with temperature change (i.e., warming), whereas food web nestedness increased and modularity declined in response to global warming. Although our findings are preliminary owing to data-analysis limitations, they enhance our understanding of the effects of environmental change on ecological communities. PMID:27322185

  17. Properties of food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Pimm, S.L.

    1980-04-01

    On the assumption that systems of interacting species, when perturbed from equilibrium, should return to equilibrium quickly, one can predict four properties of food webs: (1) food chains should be short, (2) species feeding on more than one trophic level (omnivores) should be rare, (3) those species that do feed on more than one trophic level should do so by feeding on species in adjacent trophic levels, and (4) host-parasitoid systems are likely to be exceptions to (1)-(3) when interaction coefficients permit greater trophic complexity. By generating random, model food webs (with many features identical to webs described from a variety of marine, freshwater, and terrestrial systems), it is possible to generate expected values for the number of trophic levels and the degree of omnivory within webs. When compared with these random webs, real world webs are shown to have fewer trophic levels, less omnivory, and very few omnivores feeding on nonadjacent trophic levels. Insect webs are shown to have a greater degree of omnivory than other webs. The confirmation of all these predictions from stability analyses suggests that system stability places necessary, though not sufficient, limitations on the possible shapes of food webs.

  18. Community assembly and food web stability

    SciTech Connect

    Post, W.M.; Pimm, S.L.

    1983-01-01

    The ecological assembly of food webs is considered as a process of predator colonizations and extinctions. The results of computer simulations using predator-prey equations allow us to identify three types of food web stability and examine how they may change through development of food webs. Species turnover stability increases, stability to extensive species extinction remains constant, and local stability to population fluctuations decreases as food web assembly proceeds. 28 references, 7 figures, 3 tables.

  19. Changes in the Lake Michigan food web following dreissenid mussel invasions: A synthesis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.; Bunnell, David B.; Warner, David M.; Pothoven, Steven A.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Tsehaye, Iyob; Claramunt, Randall M.; Clark, Richard D

    2015-01-01

    Using various available time series for Lake Michigan, we examined changes in the Lake Michigan food web following the dreissenid mussel invasions and identified those changes most likely attributable to these invasions, thereby providing a synthesis. Expansion of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) population into deeper waters, which began around 2004, appeared to have a substantial predatory effect on both phytoplankton abundance and primary production, with annual primary production in offshore (> 50 m deep) waters being reduced by about 35% by 2007. Primary production likely decreased in nearshore waters as well, primarily due to predatory effects exerted by the quagga mussel expansion. The drastic decline inDiporeia abundance in Lake Michigan during the 1990s and 2000s has been attributed to dreissenid mussel effects, but the exact mechanism by which the mussels were negatively affecting Diporeia abundance remains unknown. In turn, decreased Diporeiaabundance was associated with reduced condition, growth, and/or energy density in alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii), and bloater (Coregonus hoyi). However, lake-wide biomass of salmonines, top predators in the food web, remained high during the 2000s, and consumption of alewives by salmonines actually increased between the 1980–1995 and 1996–2011 time periods. Moreover, abundance of the lake whitefish population, which supports Lake Michigan's most valuable commercial fishery, remained at historically high levels during the 2000s. Apparently, counterbalancing mechanisms operating within the complex Lake Michigan food web have enabled salmonines and lake whitefish to retain relatively high abundances despite reduced primary production.

  20. Changes in fish diets and food web mercury bioaccumulation induced by an invasive planktivorous fish

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Suchanek, Thomas H.; Colwell, Arthur E.; Anderson, Norman L.; Moyle, Peter B.

    2008-01-01

    The invasion, boom, collapse, and reestablishment of a population of the planktivorous threadfin shad in Clear Lake, California, USA, were documented over a 20-year period, as were the effects of changing shad populations on diet and mercury (Hg) bioaccumulation in nearshore fishes. Threadfin shad competitively displaced other planktivorous fish in the lake, such as inland silversides, young-of-year (YOY) largemouth bass, and YOY bluegill, by reducing zooplankton abundance. As a result, all three species shifted from a diet that was dominated by zooplankton to one that was almost entirely zoobenthos. Stable carbon isotopes corroborated this pattern with each species becoming enriched in δ13C, which is elevated in benthic vs. pelagic organisms. Concomitant with these changes, Hg concentrations increased by ∼50% in all three species. In contrast, obligate benthivores such as prickly sculpin showed no relationship between diet or δ13C and the presence of threadfin shad, suggesting that effects of the shad were not strongly linked to the benthic fish community. There were also no changes in Hg concentrations of prickly sculpin. The temporary extirpation of threadfin shad from the lake resulted in zooplankton densities, foraging patterns, isotope ratios, and Hg concentrations in pelagic fishes returning to pre-shad values. These results indicate that even transient perturbations of the structure of freshwater food webs can result in significant alterations in the bioaccumulation of Hg and that food webs in lakes can be highly resilient.

  1. Insect-damaged fossil leaves record food web response to ancient climate change and extinction.

    PubMed

    Wilf, P

    2008-01-01

    Plants and herbivorous insects have dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 300 million years. Uniquely in the fossil record, foliage with well-preserved insect damage offers abundant and diverse information both about producers and about ecological and sometimes taxonomic groups of consumers. These data are ideally suited to investigate food web response to environmental perturbations, and they represent an invaluable deep-time complement to neoecological studies of global change. Correlations between feeding diversity and temperature, between herbivory and leaf traits that are modulated by climate, and between insect diversity and plant diversity can all be investigated in deep time. To illustrate, I emphasize recent work on the time interval from the latest Cretaceous through the middle Eocene (67-47 million years ago (Ma)), including two significant events that affected life: the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65.5 Ma) and its ensuing recovery; and globally warming temperatures across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55.8 Ma). Climatic effects predicted from neoecology generally hold true in these deep-time settings. Rising temperature is associated with increased herbivory in multiple studies, a result with major predictive importance for current global warming. Diverse floras are usually associated with diverse insect damage; however, recovery from the end-Cretaceous extinction reveals uncorrelated plant and insect diversity as food webs rebuilt chaotically from a drastically simplified state. Calibration studies from living forests are needed to improve interpretation of the fossil data.

  2. Species response to environmental change: impacts of food web interactions and evolution.

    PubMed

    Harmon, Jason P; Moran, Nancy A; Ives, Anthony R

    2009-03-06

    How environmental change affects species abundances depends on both the food web within which species interact and their potential to evolve. Using field experiments, we investigated both ecological and evolutionary responses of pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum), a common agricultural pest, to increased frequency of episodic heat shocks. One predator species ameliorated the decrease in aphid population growth with increasing heat shocks, whereas a second predator did not, with this contrast caused by behavioral differences between predators. We also compared aphid strains with stably inherited differences in heat tolerance caused by bacterial endosymbionts and showed the potential for rapid evolution for heat-shock tolerance. Our results illustrate how ecological and evolutionary complexities should be incorporated into predictions of the consequences of environmental change for species' populations.

  3. Combined effects of global climate change and regional ecosystem drivers on an exploited marine food web.

    PubMed

    Niiranen, Susa; Yletyinen, Johanna; Tomczak, Maciej T; Blenckner, Thorsten; Hjerne, Olle; Mackenzie, Brian R; Müller-Karulis, Bärbel; Neumann, Thomas; Meier, H E Markus

    2013-11-01

    Changes in climate, in combination with intensive exploitation of marine resources, have caused large-scale reorganizations in many of the world's marine ecosystems during the past decades. The Baltic Sea in Northern Europe is one of the systems most affected. In addition to being exposed to persistent eutrophication, intensive fishing, and one of the world's fastest rates of warming in the last two decades of the 20th century, accelerated climate change including atmospheric warming and changes in precipitation is projected for this region during the 21st century. Here, we used a new multimodel approach to project how the interaction of climate, nutrient loads, and cod fishing may affect the future of the open Central Baltic Sea food web. Regionally downscaled global climate scenarios were, in combination with three nutrient load scenarios, used to drive an ensemble of three regional biogeochemical models (BGMs). An Ecopath with Ecosim food web model was then forced with the BGM results from different nutrient-climate scenarios in combination with two different cod fishing scenarios. The results showed that regional management is likely to play a major role in determining the future of the Baltic Sea ecosystem. By the end of the 21st century, for example, the combination of intensive cod fishing and high nutrient loads projected a strongly eutrophicated and sprat-dominated ecosystem, whereas low cod fishing in combination with low nutrient loads resulted in a cod-dominated ecosystem with eutrophication levels close to present. Also, nonlinearities were observed in the sensitivity of different trophic groups to nutrient loads or fishing depending on the combination of the two. Finally, many climate variables and species biomasses were projected to levels unseen in the past. Hence, the risk for ecological surprises needs to be addressed, particularly when the results are discussed in the ecosystem-based management context.

  4. Changes in food web structure affect rate of PCB decline in herring gull (Larus argentatus) eggs

    SciTech Connect

    Hebert, C.E.; Hobson, K.A.; Shutt, J.L.

    2000-05-01

    Biological monitors provide important information regarding temporal trends in levels of persistent organic pollutants. Correct interpretation of these trends is critical if one is to accurately assess his progress in eliminating these contaminants from the environment. In the Laurentian Great Lakes, polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in herring gull eggs declined during the 1970s and early 1980s. By the mid-1980s, further declines were not as obvious. An exception to this trend was observed in eggs from Lake Erie. On that lake, egg PCB concentrations continued to decline rapidly during the 1980s/1990s. Evidence from stable isotope analysis indicated that temporal changes in the composition of the herring gull diet occurred on Lake Erie. In the eastern basin, declines in fish availability may have forced the gulls to incorporate a greater proportion of terrestrial food into their diets. Decreases in the proportion of fish in the gull diet would have resulted in reduced PCB exposure. This may be partially responsible for the continuing rapid rate of decline in egg PCB concentrations. This decline should be interpreted with caution. These trends may not be indicative of lake-wide declines in PCB bioavailability but only reflect changes in dietary exposure brought about by alterations in food web structure.

  5. Lake Michigan offshore ecosystem structure and food web changes from 1987 to 2008

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Mark W.; Bunnell, David B.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Warner, David M.

    2014-01-01

    Ecosystems undergo dynamic changes owing to species invasions, fisheries management decisions, landscape modifications, and nutrient inputs. At Lake Michigan, new invaders (e.g., dreissenid mussels (Dreissena spp.), spiny water flea (Bythotrephes longimanus), round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)) have proliferated and altered energy transfer pathways, while nutrient concentrations and stocking rates to support fisheries have changed. We developed an ecosystem model to describe food web structure in 1987 and ran simulations through 2008 to evaluate changes in biomass of functional groups, predator consumption, and effects of recently invading species. Keystone functional groups from 1987 were identified as Mysis, burbot (Lota lota), phytoplankton, alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), nonpredatory cladocerans, and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Simulations predicted biomass reductions across all trophic levels and predicted biomasses fit observed trends for most functional groups. The effects of invasive species (e.g., dreissenid grazing) increased across simulation years, but were difficult to disentangle from other changes (e.g., declining offshore nutrient concentrations). In total, our model effectively represented recent changes to the Lake Michigan ecosystem and provides an ecosystem-based tool for exploring future resource management scenarios.

  6. Effects of food web changes on Mysis diluviana diet in Lake Ontario

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Malley, Brian P.; Rudstam, Lars G.; Watkins, James M.; Holda, Toby J.; Weidel, Brian C.

    2017-01-01

    Mysids are important benthic-pelagic omnivores in many deep-lake food webs, yet quantitative data on their diet are limited. We explored the trophic role of Mysis diluviana in offshore Lake Ontario using samples collected in May, July, and September 2013 with a focus on seasonal and ontogenetic patterns in herbivory and zooplanktivory using two approaches. We hypothesized that Mysis diet in 2013 differs from the last investigation in 1995 in response to changes in pelagic prey over 1995 to 2013. Gut fluorescence indicated high grazing by adult and juvenile Mysis in May 2013. In July, smaller mysids were more herbivorous than larger individuals, a pattern that was less pronounced in September. Microscopic gut analysis showed copepods, including Limnocalanus, were common in diets of both size groups in May. In July, mainly cladocerans were consumed, including Cercopagis pengoi which represents a change from a past investigation that preceded Cercopagis invasion in the lake. Our results are consistent with earlier observations of a larger proportion of algae in mysid diets in spring, transitioning to relatively more zooplanktivory and use of cladocerans in the summer and fall. Higher chlorophyll content in small mysids in July than in September may be associated with the presence of a deep chlorophyll layer in July that had largely dissipated by September. Overall, Mysis in Lake Ontario continues to be a generalist omnivore, incorporating new prey items and exhibiting higher herbivory in spring.

  7. Local food web management increases resilience and buffers against global change effects on freshwaters.

    PubMed

    Urrutia-Cordero, Pablo; Ekvall, Mattias K; Hansson, Lars-Anders

    2016-07-08

    A major challenge for ecological research is to identify ways to improve resilience to climate-induced changes in order to secure the ecosystem functions of natural systems, as well as ecosystem services for human welfare. With respect to aquatic ecosystems, interactions between climate warming and the elevated runoff of humic substances (brownification) may strongly affect ecosystem functions and services. However, we hitherto lack the adaptive management tools needed to counteract such global-scale effects on freshwater ecosystems. Here we show, both experimentally and using monitoring data, that predicted climatic warming and brownification will reduce freshwater quality by exacerbating cyanobacterial growth and toxin levels. Furthermore, in a model based on long-term data from a natural system, we demonstrate that food web management has the potential to increase the resilience of freshwater systems against the growth of harmful cyanobacteria, and thereby that local efforts offer an opportunity to secure our water resources against some of the negative impacts of climate warming and brownification. This allows for novel policy action at a local scale to counteract effects of global-scale environmental change, thereby providing a buffer period and a safer operating space until climate mitigation strategies are effectively established.

  8. Local food web management increases resilience and buffers against global change effects on freshwaters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urrutia-Cordero, Pablo; Ekvall, Mattias K.; Hansson, Lars-Anders

    2016-07-01

    A major challenge for ecological research is to identify ways to improve resilience to climate-induced changes in order to secure the ecosystem functions of natural systems, as well as ecosystem services for human welfare. With respect to aquatic ecosystems, interactions between climate warming and the elevated runoff of humic substances (brownification) may strongly affect ecosystem functions and services. However, we hitherto lack the adaptive management tools needed to counteract such global-scale effects on freshwater ecosystems. Here we show, both experimentally and using monitoring data, that predicted climatic warming and brownification will reduce freshwater quality by exacerbating cyanobacterial growth and toxin levels. Furthermore, in a model based on long-term data from a natural system, we demonstrate that food web management has the potential to increase the resilience of freshwater systems against the growth of harmful cyanobacteria, and thereby that local efforts offer an opportunity to secure our water resources against some of the negative impacts of climate warming and brownification. This allows for novel policy action at a local scale to counteract effects of global-scale environmental change, thereby providing a buffer period and a safer operating space until climate mitigation strategies are effectively established.

  9. Local food web management increases resilience and buffers against global change effects on freshwaters

    PubMed Central

    Urrutia-Cordero, Pablo; Ekvall, Mattias K.; Hansson, Lars-Anders

    2016-01-01

    A major challenge for ecological research is to identify ways to improve resilience to climate-induced changes in order to secure the ecosystem functions of natural systems, as well as ecosystem services for human welfare. With respect to aquatic ecosystems, interactions between climate warming and the elevated runoff of humic substances (brownification) may strongly affect ecosystem functions and services. However, we hitherto lack the adaptive management tools needed to counteract such global-scale effects on freshwater ecosystems. Here we show, both experimentally and using monitoring data, that predicted climatic warming and brownification will reduce freshwater quality by exacerbating cyanobacterial growth and toxin levels. Furthermore, in a model based on long-term data from a natural system, we demonstrate that food web management has the potential to increase the resilience of freshwater systems against the growth of harmful cyanobacteria, and thereby that local efforts offer an opportunity to secure our water resources against some of the negative impacts of climate warming and brownification. This allows for novel policy action at a local scale to counteract effects of global-scale environmental change, thereby providing a buffer period and a safer operating space until climate mitigation strategies are effectively established. PMID:27386957

  10. Estimating effects of tidal power projects and climate change on threatened and endangered marine species and their food web.

    PubMed

    Busch, D Shallin; Greene, Correigh M; Good, Thomas P

    2013-12-01

    Marine hydrokinetic power projects will operate as marine environments change in response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. We considered how tidal power development and stressors resulting from climate change may affect Puget Sound species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and their food web. We used risk tables to assess the singular and combined effects of tidal power development and climate change. Tidal power development and climate change posed risks to ESA-listed species, and risk increased with incorporation of the effects of these stressors on predators and prey of ESA-listed species. In contrast, results of a model of strikes on ESA-listed species from turbine blades suggested that few ESA-listed species are likely to be killed by a commercial-scale tidal turbine array. We applied scenarios to a food web model of Puget Sound to explore the effects of tidal power and climate change on ESA-listed species using more quantitative analytical techniques. To simulate development of tidal power, we applied results of the blade strike model. To simulate environmental changes over the next 50 years, we applied scenarios of change in primary production, plankton community structure, dissolved oxygen, ocean acidification, and freshwater flooding events. No effects of tidal power development on ESA-listed species were detected from the food web model output, but the effects of climate change on them and other members of the food web were large. Our analyses exemplify how natural resource managers might assess environmental effects of marine technologies in ways that explicitly incorporate climate change and consider multiple ESA-listed species in the context of their ecological community. Estimación de los Efectos de Proyectos de Energía de las Mareas y el Cambio Climático sobre Especies Marinas Amenazadas y en Peligro y su Red Alimentaria. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology No claim to original US government works.

  11. The impact of climate change on the structure of Pleistocene food webs across the mammoth steppe

    PubMed Central

    Yeakel, Justin D.; Guimarães, Paulo R.; Bocherens, Hervé; Koch, Paul L.

    2013-01-01

    Species interactions form food webs, impacting community structure and, potentially, ecological dynamics. It is likely that global climatic perturbations that occur over long periods of time have a significant influence on species interaction patterns. Here, we integrate stable isotope analysis and network theory to reconstruct patterns of trophic interactions for six independent mammalian communities that inhabited mammoth steppe environments spanning western Europe to eastern Alaska (Beringia) during the Late Pleistocene. We use a Bayesian mixing model to quantify the contribution of prey to the diets of local predators, and assess how the structure of trophic interactions changed across space and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), a global climatic event that severely impacted mammoth steppe communities. We find that large felids had diets that were more constrained than those of co-occurring predators, and largely influenced by an increase in Rangifer abundance after the LGM. Moreover, the structural organization of Beringian and European communities strongly differed: compared with Europe, species interactions in Beringian communities before—and possibly after—the LGM were highly modular. We suggest that this difference in modularity may have been driven by the geographical insularity of Beringian communities. PMID:23658198

  12. The impact of climate change on the structure of Pleistocene food webs across the mammoth steppe.

    PubMed

    Yeakel, Justin D; Guimarães, Paulo R; Bocherens, Hervé; Koch, Paul L

    2013-07-07

    Species interactions form food webs, impacting community structure and, potentially, ecological dynamics. It is likely that global climatic perturbations that occur over long periods of time have a significant influence on species interaction patterns. Here, we integrate stable isotope analysis and network theory to reconstruct patterns of trophic interactions for six independent mammalian communities that inhabited mammoth steppe environments spanning western Europe to eastern Alaska (Beringia) during the Late Pleistocene. We use a Bayesian mixing model to quantify the contribution of prey to the diets of local predators, and assess how the structure of trophic interactions changed across space and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), a global climatic event that severely impacted mammoth steppe communities. We find that large felids had diets that were more constrained than those of co-occurring predators, and largely influenced by an increase in Rangifer abundance after the LGM. Moreover, the structural organization of Beringian and European communities strongly differed: compared with Europe, species interactions in Beringian communities before--and possibly after--the LGM were highly modular. We suggest that this difference in modularity may have been driven by the geographical insularity of Beringian communities.

  13. The dynamics of assembling food webs.

    PubMed

    Fahimipour, Ashkaan K; Hein, Andrew M

    2014-05-01

    Community assembly is central to ecology, yet ecologists have amassed little quantitative information about how food webs assemble. Theory holds that colonisation rate is a primary driver of community assembly. We present new data from a mesocosm experiment to test the hypothesis that colonisation rate also determines the assembly dynamics of food webs. By manipulating colonisation rate and measuring webs through time, we show how colonisation rate governs structural changes during assembly. Webs experiencing different colonisation rates had stable topologies despite significant species turnover, suggesting that some features of network architecture emerge early and change little through assembly. But webs experiencing low colonisation rates showed less variation in the magnitudes of trophic fluxes, and were less likely to develop coupled fast and slow resource channels--a common feature of published webs. Our results reveal that food web structure develops according to repeatable trajectories that are strongly influenced by colonisation rate. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  14. Trophic state changes can affect the importance of methane-derived carbon in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Schilder, Jos; van Hardenbroek, Maarten; Bodelier, Paul; Kirilova, Emiliya P; Leuenberger, Markus; Lotter, André F; Heiri, Oliver

    2017-06-28

    Methane-derived carbon, incorporated by methane-oxidizing bacteria, has been identified as a significant source of carbon in food webs of many lakes. By measuring the stable carbon isotopic composition (δ(13)C values) of particulate organic matter, Chironomidae and Daphnia spp. and their resting eggs (ephippia), we show that methane-derived carbon presently plays a relevant role in the food web of hypertrophic Lake De Waay, The Netherlands. Sediment geochemistry, diatom analyses and δ(13)C measurements of chironomid and Daphnia remains in the lake sediments indicate that oligotrophication and re-eutrophication of the lake during the twentieth century had a strong impact on in-lake oxygen availability. This, in turn, influenced the relevance of methane-derived carbon in the diet of aquatic invertebrates. Our results show that, contrary to expectations, methane-derived relative to photosynthetically produced organic carbon became more relevant for at least some invertebrates during periods with higher nutrient availability for algal growth, indicating a proportionally higher use of methane-derived carbon in the lake's food web during peak eutrophication phases. Contributions of methane-derived carbon to the diet of the investigated invertebrates are estimated to have ranged from 0-11% during the phase with the lowest nutrient availability to 13-20% during the peak eutrophication phase. © 2017 The Author(s).

  15. The Great Lakes Food Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Marjane L.

    1997-01-01

    Presents a play for students in grades four to nine that incorporates the scientific names, physical characteristics, feeding habits, interactions, and interdependence of the plants and animals that make up the Great Lakes food web to facilitate the learning of this complex system. Includes a Great Lakes food web chart. (AIM)

  16. The Great Lakes Food Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baker, Marjane L.

    1997-01-01

    Presents a play for students in grades four to nine that incorporates the scientific names, physical characteristics, feeding habits, interactions, and interdependence of the plants and animals that make up the Great Lakes food web to facilitate the learning of this complex system. Includes a Great Lakes food web chart. (AIM)

  17. Genotype matching in a parasitoid-host genotypic food web: an approach for measuring effects of environmental change.

    PubMed

    Lavandero, Blas; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2013-01-01

    Food webs typically quantify interactions between species, whereas evolution operates through the success of alleles within populations of a single species. To bridge this gap, we quantify genotypic interaction networks among individuals of a single specialized parasitoid species and its obligate to cyclically parthenogenetic aphid host along a climatic gradient. As a case study for the kinds of questions genotype food webs could be used to answer, we show that genetically similar parasitoids became more likely to attack genetically similar hosts in warmer sites (i.e. there was network-wide congruence between the within-species shared allelic distance of the parasitoid and that of its host). Narrowing of host-genotype-niche breadth by parasitoids could reduce resilience of the network to changes in host genetic structure or invasion by novel host genotypes and inhibit biological control. Thus, our approach can be easily used to detect changes to sub-species-level food webs, which may have important ecological and evolutionary implications, such as promoting host-race specialization or the accelerated loss of functional diversity following extinctions of closely related genotypes.

  18. Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Web Academy Webinar: Changing How We Think About Our Resources for a Better Tomorrow: How to Donate Surplus Food from K-12 Schools

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    This is a webinar page for the Sustainable Management of Materials (SMM) Web Academy webinar titled Changing How We Think About Our Resources for a Better Tomorrow: How to Donate Surplus Food from K-12 Schools

  19. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels.

  20. Food Web Topology in High Mountain Lakes

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Hernández, Javier; Cobo, Fernando; Amundsen, Per-Arne

    2015-01-01

    Although diversity and limnology of alpine lake systems are well studied, their food web structure and properties have rarely been addressed. Here, the topological food webs of three high mountain lakes in Central Spain were examined. We first addressed the pelagic networks of the lakes, and then we explored how food web topology changed when benthic biota was included to establish complete trophic networks. We conducted a literature search to compare our alpine lacustrine food webs and their structural metrics with those of 18 published lentic webs using a meta-analytic approach. The comparison revealed that the food webs in alpine lakes are relatively simple, in terms of structural network properties (linkage density and connectance), in comparison with lowland lakes, but no great differences were found among pelagic networks. The studied high mountain food webs were dominated by a high proportion of omnivores and species at intermediate trophic levels. Omnivores can exploit resources at multiple trophic levels, and this characteristic might reduce competition among interacting species. Accordingly, the trophic overlap, measured as trophic similarity, was very low in all three systems. Thus, these alpine networks are characterized by many omnivorous consumers with numerous prey species and few consumers with a single or few prey and with low competitive interactions among species. The present study emphasizes the ecological significance of omnivores in high mountain lakes as promoters of network stability and as central players in energy flow pathways via food partitioning and enabling energy mobility among trophic levels. PMID:26571235

  1. Phytoplankton fuels Delta food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jassby, Alan D.; Cloern, James E.; Muller-Solger, A. B.

    2003-01-01

    Populations of certain fishes and invertebrates in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have declined in abundance in recent decades and there is evidence that food supply is partly responsible. While many sources of organic matter in the Delta could be supporting fish populations indirectly through the food web (including aquatic vegetation and decaying organic matter from agricultural drainage), a careful accounting shows that phytoplankton is the dominant food source. Phytoplankton, communities of microscopic free-floating algae, are the most important food source on a Delta-wide scale when both food quantity and quality are taken into account. These microscopic algae have declined since the late 1960s. Fertilizer and pesticide runoff do not appear to be playing a direct role in long-term phytoplankton changes; rather, species invasions, increasing water transparency and fluctuations in water transport are responsible. Although the potential toxicity of herbicides and pesticides to plank- ton in the Delta is well documented, the ecological significance remains speculative. Nutrient inputs from agricultural runoff at current levels, in combination with increasing transparency, could result in harmful al- gal blooms. 

  2. Widespread crown condition decline, food web disruption, and amplified tree mortality with increased climate change-type drought.

    PubMed

    Carnicer, Jofre; Coll, Marta; Ninyerola, Miquel; Pons, Xavier; Sánchez, Gerardo; Peñuelas, Josep

    2011-01-25

    Climate change is progressively increasing severe drought events in the Northern Hemisphere, causing regional tree die-off events and contributing to the global reduction of the carbon sink efficiency of forests. There is a critical lack of integrated community-wide assessments of drought-induced responses in forests at the macroecological scale, including defoliation, mortality, and food web responses. Here we report a generalized increase in crown defoliation in southern European forests occurring during 1987-2007. Forest tree species have consistently and significantly altered their crown leaf structures, with increased percentages of defoliation in the drier parts of their distributions in response to increased water deficit. We assessed the demographic responses of trees associated with increased defoliation in southern European forests, specifically in the Iberian Peninsula region. We found that defoliation trends are paralleled by significant increases in tree mortality rates in drier areas that are related to tree density and temperature effects. Furthermore, we show that severe drought impacts are associated with sudden changes in insect and fungal defoliation dynamics, creating long-term disruptive effects of drought on food webs. Our results reveal a complex geographical mosaic of species-specific responses to climate change-driven drought pressures on the Iberian Peninsula, with an overwhelmingly predominant trend toward increased drought damage.

  3. Changes in Sport Fish Mercury Concentrations from Food Web Shifts Suggest Partial Decoupling from Atmospheric Deposition in Two Colorado Reservoirs.

    PubMed

    Wolff, Brian A; Johnson, Brett M; Lepak, Jesse M

    2017-02-01

    Partial decoupling of mercury (Hg) loading and observed Hg concentrations ([Hg]) in biotic and abiotic samples has been documented in aquatic systems. We studied two Colorado reservoirs to test whether shifts in prey for sport fish would lead to changes in [Hg] independent of external atmospheric Hg deposition. We compared sport fish total mercury concentrations ([T-Hg]) and macroinvertebrate (chironomids and crayfish) methylmercury concentrations ([MeHg]) before and after food web shifts occurred in both reservoirs. We also monitored wet atmospheric Hg deposition and sediment [T-Hg] and [MeHg] at each reservoir. We found rapid shifts in Hg bioaccumulation in each reservoir's sport fish, and these changes could not be attributed to atmospheric Hg deposition. Our study shows that trends in atmospheric deposition, environmental samples (e.g., sediments), and samples of species at the low trophic levels (e.g., chironomids and crayfish) may not accurately reflect conditions that result in fish consumption advisories for high trophic level sport fish. We suggest that in the short-term, monitoring fish [Hg] is necessary to adequately protect human health because natural and anthropogenic perturbations to aquatic food-webs that affect [Hg] in sport fish will continue regardless of trends in atmospheric deposition.

  4. Cestodes change the isotopic signature of brine shrimp, Artemia, hosts: implications for aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Sánchez, Marta I; Varo, Nico; Matesanz, Cristina; Ramo, Cristina; Amat, Juan A; Green, Andy J

    2013-01-01

    To reach the final host (greater flamingos), the cestode Flamingolepis liguloides alters the behaviour of its intermediate host, the brine shrimp, Artemia parthenogenetica, causing it to spend more time close to the water surface. During summer 2010, we showed that the prevalence of this cestode was consistently higher at the top of the water column in the Odiel salt pans in south-western Spain. We used stable nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) isotopic analysis to test the hypothesis that cestodes also alter resource use by Artemia. In early summer, we compared stable isotopes in infected hosts at the surface with those from uninfected hosts at the bottom of the water column. In late summer, we compared infected and uninfected Artemia from the bottom. δ(15)N was consistently enriched in infected individuals compared with uninfected hosts, especially in Artemia with multiple infections of F. liguloides (family Hymenolepididae) and those with mixed infections of F. liguloides and cestodes of the family Dilepididae. Infected individuals from the surface were enriched in δ(13)C compared with uninfected ones from the bottom, but the opposite was found when comparing uninfected and infected Artemia from the same depth. This may be caused by the increase in lipid concentration in infected Artemia. Isolated cysticercoids of F. liguloides were significantly enriched in δ(13)C compared with cysticercoids in infected hosts, but surprisingly were not enriched in N. Our findings illustrate the way cestodes can alter food webs and highlight the importance of considering the parasitic status of prey in studies of trophic ecology in saline wetlands.

  5. Parasites in the Wadden Sea food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thieltges, David W.; Engelsma, Marc Y.; Wendling, Carolin C.; Wegner, K. Mathias

    2013-09-01

    While the free-living fauna of the Wadden Sea has received much interest, little is known on the distribution and effects of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web. However, recent studies on this special type of trophic interaction indicate a high diversity of parasites in the Wadden Sea and suggest a multitude of effects on the hosts. This also includes effects on specific predator-prey relationships and the general structure of the food web. Focussing on molluscs, a major group in the Wadden Sea in terms of biomass and abundance and an important link between primary producers and predators, we review existing studies and exemplify the ecological role of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web. First, we give a brief inventory of parasites occurring in the Wadden Sea, ranging from microparasites (e.g. protozoa, bacteria) to macroparasites (e.g. helminths, parasitic copepods) and discuss the effects of spatial scale on heterogeneities in infection levels. We then demonstrate how parasites can affect host population dynamics by acting as a strong mortality factor, causing mollusc mass mortalities. In addition, we will exemplify how parasites can mediate the interaction strength of predator-prey relationships and affect the topological structure of the Wadden Sea food web as a whole. Finally, we highlight some ongoing changes regarding parasitism in the Wadden Sea in the course of global change (e.g. species introduction, climate change) and identify important future research questions to entangle the role of parasites in the Wadden Sea food web.

  6. Dispersal dynamics in food webs.

    PubMed

    Melián, Carlos J; Křivan, Vlastimil; Altermatt, Florian; Starý, Petr; Pellissier, Loïc; De Laender, Frederik

    2015-02-01

    Studies of food webs suggest that limited nonrandom dispersal can play an important role in structuring food webs. It is not clear, however, whether density-dependent dispersal fits empirical patterns of food webs better than density-independent dispersal. Here, we study a spatially distributed food web, using a series of population-dispersal models that contrast density-independent and density-dependent dispersal in landscapes where sampled sites are either homogeneously or heterogeneously distributed. These models are fitted to empirical data, allowing us to infer mechanisms that are consistent with the data. Our results show that models with density-dependent dispersal fit the α, β, and γ tritrophic richness observed in empirical data best. Our results also show that density-dependent dispersal leads to a critical distance threshold beyond which site similarity (i.e., β tritrophic richness) starts to decrease much faster. Such a threshold can also be detected in the empirical data. In contrast, models with density-independent dispersal do not predict such a threshold. Moreover, preferential dispersal from more centrally located sites to peripheral sites does not provide a better fit to empirical data when compared with symmetric dispersal between sites. Our results suggest that nonrandom dispersal in heterogeneous landscapes is an important driver that shapes local and regional richness (i.e., α and γ tritrophic richness, respectively) as well as the distance-decay relationship (i.e., β tritrophic richness) in food webs.

  7. Parasites in marine food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.

    2013-01-01

    Most species interactions probably involve parasites. This review considers the extent to which marine ecologists should consider parasites to fully understand marine communities. Parasites are influential parts of food webs in estuaries, temperate reefs, and coral reefs, but their ecological importance is seldom recognized. Though difficult to observe, parasites can have substantial biomass, and they can be just as common as free-living consumers after controlling for body mass and trophic level. Parasites have direct impacts on the energetics of their hosts and some affect host behaviors, with ecosystem-level consequences. Although they cause disease, parasites are sensitive components of ecosystems. In particular, they suffer secondary extinctions due to biodiversity loss. Some parasites can also return to a system after habitat restoration. For these reasons, parasites can make good indicators of ecosystem integrity. Fishing can indirectly increase or decrease parasite populations and the effects of climate change on parasites are likely to be equally as complex.

  8. Bacterioplankton communities of Crater Lake, OR: Dynamic changes with euphotic zone food web structure and stable deep water populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Urbach, E.; Vergin, K.L.; Larson, G.L.; Giovannoni, S.J.

    2007-01-01

    The distribution of bacterial and archaeal species in Crater Lake plankton varies dramatically over depth and with time, as assessed by hybridization of group-specific oligonucleotides to RNA extracted from lakewater. Nonmetric, multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis of relative bacterial phylotype densities revealed complex relationships among assemblages sampled from depth profiles in July, August and September of 1997 through 1999. CL500-11 green nonsulfur bacteria (Phylum Chloroflexi) and marine Group I crenarchaeota are consistently dominant groups in the oxygenated deep waters at 300 and 500 m. Other phylotypes found in the deep waters are similar to surface and mid-depth populations and vary with time. Euphotic zone assemblages are dominated either by ??-proteobacteria or CL120-10 verrucomicrobia, and ACK4 actinomycetes. MDS analyses of euphotic zone populations in relation to environmental variables and phytoplankton and zooplankton population structures reveal apparent links between Daphnia pulicaria zooplankton population densities and microbial community structure. These patterns may reflect food web interactions that link kokanee salmon population densities to community structure of the bacterioplankton, via fish predation on Daphnia with cascading consequences to Daphnia bacterivory and predation on bacterivorous protists. These results demonstrate a stable bottom-water microbial community. They also extend previous observations of food web-driven changes in euphotic zone bacterioplankton community structure to an oligotrophic setting. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  9. Impacts of changing food webs in Lake Ontario: Implications of dietary fatty acids on growth of alewives

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Snyder, R.J.; Demarche, C.J.; Honeyfield, D.C.

    2011-01-01

    Declines in the abundance and condition of Great Lakes Alewives have been reported periodically during the last two decades, and the reasons for these declines remain unclear. To better understand how food web changes may influence Alewife growth and Wisconsin growth model predictions, we fed Alewives isocaloric diets high in omega-6 fatty acids (corn oil) or high in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). Alewives were fed the experimental diets at either 1% ("low ration") or 3% ("high ration") of their wet body weight per day. After six weeks, Alewives maintained on the high ration diets were significantly larger than those fed the low ration diets. Moreover, Alewives given the high ration fish oil diet were significantly larger than those maintained on the high ration corn oil diet after six weeks of growth. Body lipid, energy density and total body energy of Alewives on the high ration diets were significantly higher than those fed the low ration diets, and total body energy was significantly higher in Alewives given the high ration fish oil diet compared to those on the high ration corn oil diet. The current Wisconsin bioenergetics model underestimated growth and overestimated food consumption by Alewives in our study. Alewife thiaminase activity was similar among treatment groups. Overall, our results suggest that future food web changes in Lake Ontario, particularly if they involve decreases in the abundance of lipid rich prey items such as Mysis, may reduce Alewife growth rates and total body energy due to reductions in the availability of dietary omega-3 fatty acids. ?? 2011 AEHMS.

  10. Warming and Resource Availability Shift Food Web Structure and Metabolism

    PubMed Central

    O'Connor, Mary I.; Piehler, Michael F.; Leech, Dina M.; Anton, Andrea; Bruno, John F.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change disrupts ecological systems in many ways. Many documented responses depend on species' life histories, contributing to the view that climate change effects are important but difficult to characterize generally. However, systematic variation in metabolic effects of temperature across trophic levels suggests that warming may lead to predictable shifts in food web structure and productivity. We experimentally tested the effects of warming on food web structure and productivity under two resource supply scenarios. Consistent with predictions based on universal metabolic responses to temperature, we found that warming strengthened consumer control of primary production when resources were augmented. Warming shifted food web structure and reduced total biomass despite increases in primary productivity in a marine food web. In contrast, at lower resource levels, food web production was constrained at all temperatures. These results demonstrate that small temperature changes could dramatically shift food web dynamics and provide a general, species-independent mechanism for ecological response to environmental temperature change. PMID:19707271

  11. Spatial subsidies in riverine food webs: consequences of disturbance and environmental change for stream fishes in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wipfli, M. S.

    2005-05-01

    Freshwater food webs in Alaska and other parts of the Pacific Northwest rely heavily on nutrient, detritus and prey subsidies from marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Adult salmon provide tons of marine biomass to riverine ecosystems each year when they spawn and decompose; riparian forests provide terrestrial invertebrates to streams, which at times comprise over half of the food ingested by stream-resident salmonids; and up-slope, fish-less headwater streams are a year-round source of prey and detritus to fish-bearing food webs in valley bottoms. Disturbance and environmental change influence these resource subsidies. Fishing, dams, and ocean currents affect salmon returns to fresh water, and riparian forest management (fish-bearing and upslope fishless streams) ultimately affects the flow of prey to fishes. Following disturbances such as timber harvesting, regenerating red alder riparian forests elevate terrestrial invertebrate inputs to streams by up to four times compared to forests lacking alder. Because fish-bearing food webs receive resource subsidies from multiple sources, fish communities may be able to absorb short-term loss of subsidies from any given source. Understanding the effects of disturbance and environmental change on nutrient and food subsidies to freshwater food webs will broaden our knowledge of ecosystem function and improve resource management options.

  12. Competition in di- and tri-trophic food web modules.

    PubMed

    Křivan, Vlastimil

    2014-02-21

    Competition in di- and tri-trophic food web modules with many competing species is studied. The food web modules considered are apparent competition between n species sharing a single predator and a diamond-like food web with a single resource, a single top predator and many competing middle species. The predators have either fixed preferences for their prey, or they switch between available prey in a way that maximizes their fitness. Dependence of these food web dynamics on environmental carrying capacity and food web connectance is studied. The results predict that optimal flexible foraging strongly weakens apparent competition and promotes species coexistence. Food web robustness (defined here as the proportion of surviving species) does not decrease with increased connectance in these food-webs. Moreover, it is shown that flexible prey switching leads to the same population equilibria as in corresponding food webs with highly specialized predators. The results show that flexible foraging behavior by predators can have very strong impact on species richness, as well as the response of communities to changes in resource enrichment and food-web connectance when compared to the same food-web topology with inflexible top predators. Several results on global stability using Lyapunov functions are provided. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Insect symbionts in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Henry, Lee M.

    2016-01-01

    Recent research has shown that the bacterial endosymbionts of insects are abundant and diverse, and that they have numerous different effects on their hosts' biology. Here we explore how insect endosymbionts might affect the structure and dynamics of insect communities. Using the obligate and facultative symbionts of aphids as an example, we find that there are multiple ways that symbiont presence might affect food web structure. Many symbionts are now known to help their hosts escape or resist natural enemy attack, and others can allow their hosts to withstand abiotic stress or affect host plant use. In addition to the direct effect of symbionts on aphid phenotypes there may be indirect effects mediated through trophic and non-trophic community interactions. We believe that by using data from barcoding studies to identify bacterial symbionts, this extra, microbial dimension to insect food webs can be better elucidated. This article is part of the themed issue ‘From DNA barcodes to biomes’. PMID:27481779

  14. Future Climate Scenarios for a Coastal Productive Planktonic Food Web Resulting in Microplankton Phenology Changes and Decreased Trophic Transfer Efficiency

    PubMed Central

    Calbet, Albert; Sazhin, Andrey F.; Nejstgaard, Jens C.; Berger, Stella A.; Tait, Zachary S.; Olmos, Lorena; Sousoni, Despoina; Isari, Stamatina; Martínez, Rodrigo A.; Bouquet, Jean-Marie; Thompson, Eric M.; Båmstedt, Ulf; Jakobsen, Hans H.

    2014-01-01

    We studied the effects of future climate change scenarios on plankton communities of a Norwegian fjord using a mesocosm approach. After the spring bloom, natural plankton were enclosed and treated in duplicates with inorganic nutrients elevated to pre-bloom conditions (N, P, Si; eutrophication), lowering of 0.4 pH units (acidification), and rising 3°C temperature (warming). All nutrient-amended treatments resulted in phytoplankton blooms dominated by chain-forming diatoms, and reached 13–16 μg chlorophyll (chl) a l−1. In the control mesocosms, chl a remained below 1 μg l−1. Acidification and warming had contrasting effects on the phenology and bloom-dynamics of autotrophic and heterotrophic microplankton. Bacillariophyceae, prymnesiophyceae, cryptophyta, and Protoperidinium spp. peaked earlier at higher temperature and lower pH. Chlorophyta showed lower peak abundances with acidification, but higher peak abundances with increased temperature. The peak magnitude of autotrophic dinophyceae and ciliates was, on the other hand, lowered with combined warming and acidification. Over time, the plankton communities shifted from autotrophic phytoplankton blooms to a more heterotrophic system in all mesocosms, especially in the control unaltered mesocosms. The development of mass balance and proportion of heterotrophic/autotrophic biomass predict a shift towards a more autotrophic community and less-efficient food web transfer when temperature, nutrients and acidification are combined in a future climate-change scenario. We suggest that this result may be related to a lower food quality for microzooplankton under acidification and warming scenarios and to an increase of catabolic processes compared to anabolic ones at higher temperatures. PMID:24721992

  15. Future climate scenarios for a coastal productive planktonic food web resulting in microplankton phenology changes and decreased trophic transfer efficiency.

    PubMed

    Calbet, Albert; Sazhin, Andrey F; Nejstgaard, Jens C; Berger, Stella A; Tait, Zachary S; Olmos, Lorena; Sousoni, Despoina; Isari, Stamatina; Martínez, Rodrigo A; Bouquet, Jean-Marie; Thompson, Eric M; Båmstedt, Ulf; Jakobsen, Hans H

    2014-01-01

    We studied the effects of future climate change scenarios on plankton communities of a Norwegian fjord using a mesocosm approach. After the spring bloom, natural plankton were enclosed and treated in duplicates with inorganic nutrients elevated to pre-bloom conditions (N, P, Si; eutrophication), lowering of 0.4 pH units (acidification), and rising 3°C temperature (warming). All nutrient-amended treatments resulted in phytoplankton blooms dominated by chain-forming diatoms, and reached 13-16 μg chlorophyll (chl) a l-1. In the control mesocosms, chl a remained below 1 μg l-1. Acidification and warming had contrasting effects on the phenology and bloom-dynamics of autotrophic and heterotrophic microplankton. Bacillariophyceae, prymnesiophyceae, cryptophyta, and Protoperidinium spp. peaked earlier at higher temperature and lower pH. Chlorophyta showed lower peak abundances with acidification, but higher peak abundances with increased temperature. The peak magnitude of autotrophic dinophyceae and ciliates was, on the other hand, lowered with combined warming and acidification. Over time, the plankton communities shifted from autotrophic phytoplankton blooms to a more heterotrophic system in all mesocosms, especially in the control unaltered mesocosms. The development of mass balance and proportion of heterotrophic/autotrophic biomass predict a shift towards a more autotrophic community and less-efficient food web transfer when temperature, nutrients and acidification are combined in a future climate-change scenario. We suggest that this result may be related to a lower food quality for microzooplankton under acidification and warming scenarios and to an increase of catabolic processes compared to anabolic ones at higher temperatures.

  16. Source food webs as estimators of community web structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hawkins, Bradford A.; Martinez, Neo D.; Gilbert, Francis

    Taxonomically restricted "source webs" are commonly used to represent the community food webs of which they are part. This raises a methodological problem if source webs provide biased estimates of food web structure. We use four high quality, extensive food webs containing multiple source species to measure the sensitivity of food web metrics to the number of source species used to generate a web. The total number of species ( S), linkage density ( L/S), directed connectance ( L/S 2) and the fractions of basal ( B), intermediate ( I), and top ( T) species are all sensitive to the number of source species. Further, the pattern of variation for the latter fractions is inconsistent and web dependent, indicating that source webs are inappropriate for characterizing these properties. Linkage densities increase with the numbers of source species in all four cases, with webs based on single or few sources severely underestimating values obtained for the full webs. Connectance shows more constrained decreases with increasing numbers of sources, suggesting that multiple-source webs may provide reasonable estimates of connectance for community webs.

  17. Where are the parasites in food webs?

    PubMed

    Sukhdeo, Michael V K

    2012-10-23

    This review explores some of the reasons why food webs seem to contain relatively few parasite species when compared to the full diversity of free living species in the system. At present, there are few coherent food web theories to guide scientific studies on parasites, and this review posits that the methods, directions and questions in the field of food web ecology are not always congruent with parasitological inquiry. For example, topological analysis (the primary tool in food web studies) focuses on only one of six important steps in trematode life cycles, each of which requires a stable community dynamic to evolve. In addition, these transmission strategies may also utilize pathways within the food web that are not considered in traditional food web investigations. It is asserted that more effort must be focused on parasite-centric models, and a central theme is that many different approaches will be required. One promising approach is the old energetic perspective, which considers energy as the critical resource for all organisms, and the currency of all food web interactions. From the parasitological point of view, energy can be used to characterize the roles of parasites at all levels in the food web, from individuals to populations to community. The literature on parasite energetics in food webs is very sparse, but the evidence suggests that parasite species richness is low in food webs because parasites are limited by the quantity of energy available to their unique lifestyles.

  18. Where are the parasites in food webs?

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    This review explores some of the reasons why food webs seem to contain relatively few parasite species when compared to the full diversity of free living species in the system. At present, there are few coherent food web theories to guide scientific studies on parasites, and this review posits that the methods, directions and questions in the field of food web ecology are not always congruent with parasitological inquiry. For example, topological analysis (the primary tool in food web studies) focuses on only one of six important steps in trematode life cycles, each of which requires a stable community dynamic to evolve. In addition, these transmission strategies may also utilize pathways within the food web that are not considered in traditional food web investigations. It is asserted that more effort must be focused on parasite-centric models, and a central theme is that many different approaches will be required. One promising approach is the old energetic perspective, which considers energy as the critical resource for all organisms, and the currency of all food web interactions. From the parasitological point of view, energy can be used to characterize the roles of parasites at all levels in the food web, from individuals to populations to community. The literature on parasite energetics in food webs is very sparse, but the evidence suggests that parasite species richness is low in food webs because parasites are limited by the quantity of energy available to their unique lifestyles. PMID:23092160

  19. Mercury, Food Webs, and Marine Mammals: Implications of Diet and Climate Change for Human Health

    PubMed Central

    Booth, Shawn; Zeller, Dirk

    2005-01-01

    We modeled the flow of methyl mercury, a toxic global pollutant, in the Faroe Islands marine ecosystem and compared average human methyl mercury exposure from consumption of pilot whale meat and fish (cod, Gadus morhua) with current tolerable weekly intake (TWI) levels. Under present conditions and climate change scenarios, methyl mercury increased in the ecosystem, translating into increased human exposure over time. However, we saw greater changes as a result of changing fishing mortalities. A large portion of the general human population exceed the TWI levels set by the World Health Organization [WHO; 1.6 μg/kg body weight (bw)], and they all exceed the reference dose (RfD) of 0.1 μg/kg bw/day set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; equivalent to a TWI of 0.7 μg/kg bw). As a result of an independent study documenting that Faroese children exposed prenatally to methyl mercury had reduced cognitive abilities, pregnant women have decreased their intake of whale meat and were below the TWI levels set by the WHO and the U.S. EPA. Cod had approximately 95% lower methyl mercury concentrations than did pilot whale. Thus, the high and harmful levels of methyl mercury in the diet of Faroe Islanders are driven by whale meat consumption, and the increasing impact of climate change is likely to exacerbate this situation. Significantly, base inflow rates of mercury into the environment would need to be reduced by approximately 50% to ensure levels of intake below the WHO TWI levels, given current levels of whale consumption. PMID:15866757

  20. Mercury, food webs, and marine mammals: implications of diet and climate change for human health.

    PubMed

    Booth, Shawn; Zeller, Dirk

    2005-05-01

    We modeled the flow of methyl mercury, a toxic global pollutant, in the Faroe Islands marine ecosystem and compared average human methyl mercury exposure from consumption of pilot whale meat and fish (cod, Gadus morhua) with current tolerable weekly intake (TWI) levels. Under present conditions and climate change scenarios, methyl mercury increased in the ecosystem, translating into increased human exposure over time. However, we saw greater changes as a result of changing fishing mortalities. A large portion of the general human population exceed the TWI levels set by the World Health Organization [WHO; 1.6 microg/kg body weight (bw)], and they all exceed the reference dose (RfD) of 0.1 microg/kg bw/day set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; equivalent to a TWI of 0.7 microg/kg bw). As a result of an independent study documenting that Faroese children exposed prenatally to methyl mercury had reduced cognitive abilities, pregnant women have decreased their intake of whale meat and were below the TWI levels set by the WHO and the U.S. EPA. Cod had approximately 95% lower methyl mercury concentrations than did pilot whale. Thus, the high and harmful levels of methyl mercury in the diet of Faroe Islanders are driven by whale meat consumption, and the increasing impact of climate change is likely to exacerbate this situation. Significantly, base inflow rates of mercury into the environment would need to be reduced by approximately 50% to ensure levels of intake below the WHO TWI levels, given current levels of whale consumption.

  1. Progressive changes in the Western English Channel foster a reorganization in the plankton food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reygondeau, Gabriel; Molinero, Juan Carlos; Coombs, Steve; MacKenzie, Brian R.; Bonnet, Delphine

    2015-09-01

    Growing evidence has shown a profound modification of plankton communities of the North East Atlantic and adjacent seas over the past decades. This drastic change has been attributed to a modification of the environmental conditions that regulate the dynamics and the spatial distribution of ectothermic species in the ocean. Recently, several studies have highlighted modifications of the regional climate station L4 (50° 15.00‧N, 4° 13.02‧W) in the Western English Channel. We here focus on the modification of the plankton community by studying the long-term, annual and seasonal changes of five zooplankton groups and eight copepod genera. We detail the main composition and the phenology of the plankton communities during four climatic periods identified at the L4 station: 1988-1994, 1995-2000, 2001-2007 and 2008-2012. Our results show that long-term environmental changes underlined by Molinero et al. (2013) drive a profound restructuration of the plankton community modifying the phenology and the dominance of key planktonic groups including fish larvae. Consequently, the slow but deep modifications detected in the plankton community highlight a climate driven ecosystem shift in the Western English Channel.

  2. Lake Ontario: Food web dynamics in a changing ecosystem (1970-2000)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, E.L.; Casselman, J.M.; Dermott, R.; Fitzsimons, J.D.; Gal, G.; Holeck, K. T.; Hoyle, J.A.; Johannsson, O.E.; Lantry, B.F.; Makarewicz, J.C.; Millard, E.S.; Munawar, I.F.; Munawar, M.; O'Gorman, R.; Owens, R.W.; Rudstam, L. G.; Schaner, T.; Stewart, T.J.

    2003-01-01

    We examined stressors that have led to profound ecological changes in the Lake Ontario ecosystem and its fish community since 1970. The most notable changes have been reductions in phosphorus loading, invasion by Dreissena spp., fisheries management through stocking of exotic salmonids and control of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and fish harvest by anglers and double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). The response to these stressors has led to (i) declines in both algal photosynthesis and epilimnetic zooplankton production, (ii) decreases in alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) abundance, (iii) declines in native Diporeia and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), (iv) behavioral shifts in alewife spatial distribution benefitting native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), and emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides) populations, (v) dramatic increases in water clarity, (vi) predation impacts by cormorants on select fish species, and (vii) lake trout recruitment bottlenecks associated with alewife-induced thiamine deficiency. We expect stressor responses associated with anthropogenic forces like exotic species invasions and global climate warming to continue to impact the Lake Ontario ecosystem in the future and recommend continuous long-term ecological studies to enhance scientific understanding and management of this important resource.

  3. Warming alters food web-driven changes in the CO2 flux of experimental pond ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Atwood, T. B.; Hammill, E.; Kratina, P.; Greig, H. S.; Shurin, J. B.; Richardson, J. S.

    2015-01-01

    Evidence shows the important role biota play in the carbon cycle, and strategic management of plant and animal populations could enhance CO2 uptake in aquatic ecosystems. However, it is currently unknown how management-driven changes to community structure may interact with climate warming and other anthropogenic perturbations to alter CO2 fluxes. Here we showed that under ambient water temperatures, predators (three-spined stickleback) and nutrient enrichment synergistically increased primary producer biomass, resulting in increased CO2 uptake by mesocosms in early dawn. However, a 3°C increase in water temperatures counteracted positive effects of predators and nutrients, leading to reduced primary producer biomass and a switch from CO2 influx to efflux. This confounding effect of temperature demonstrates that climate scenarios must be accounted for when undertaking ecosystem management actions to increase biosequestration. PMID:26631247

  4. Warming alters food web-driven changes in the CO2 flux of experimental pond ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Atwood, T B; Hammill, E; Kratina, P; Greig, H S; Shurin, J B; Richardson, J S

    2015-12-01

    Evidence shows the important role biota play in the carbon cycle, and strategic management of plant and animal populations could enhance CO2 uptake in aquatic ecosystems. However, it is currently unknown how management-driven changes to community structure may interact with climate warming and other anthropogenic perturbations to alter CO2 fluxes. Here we showed that under ambient water temperatures, predators (three-spined stickleback) and nutrient enrichment synergistically increased primary producer biomass, resulting in increased CO2 uptake by mesocosms in early dawn. However, a 3°C increase in water temperatures counteracted positive effects of predators and nutrients, leading to reduced primary producer biomass and a switch from CO2 influx to efflux. This confounding effect of temperature demonstrates that climate scenarios must be accounted for when undertaking ecosystem management actions to increase biosequestration. © 2015 The Author(s).

  5. Drought rewires the cores of food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lu, Xueke; Gray, Clare; Brown, Lee E.; Ledger, Mark E.; Milner, Alexander M.; Mondragón, Raúl J.; Woodward, Guy; Ma, Athen

    2016-09-01

    Droughts are intensifying across the globe, with potentially devastating implications for freshwater ecosystems. We used new network science approaches to investigate drought impacts on stream food webs and explored potential consequences for web robustness to future perturbations. The substructure of the webs was characterized by a core of richly connected species surrounded by poorly connected peripheral species. Although drought caused the partial collapse of the food webs, the loss of the most extinction-prone peripheral species triggered a substantial rewiring of interactions within the networks’ cores. These shifts in species interactions in the core conserved the underlying core/periphery substructure and stability of the drought-impacted webs. When we subsequently perturbed the webs by simulating species loss in silico, the rewired drought webs were as robust as the larger, undisturbed webs. Our research unearths previously unknown compensatory dynamics arising from within the core that could underpin food web stability in the face of environmental perturbations.

  6. Food web persistence is enhanced by non-trophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Hammill, Edd; Kratina, Pavel; Vos, Matthijs; Petchey, Owen L; Anholt, Bradley R

    2015-06-01

    The strength of interspecific interactions is often proposed to affect food web stability, with weaker interactions increasing the persistence of species, and food webs as a whole. However, the mechanisms that modify interaction strengths, and their effects on food web persistence are not fully understood. Using food webs containing different combinations of predator, prey, and nonprey species, we investigated how predation risk of susceptible prey is affected by the presence of species not directly trophically linked to either predators or prey. We predicted that indirect alterations to the strength of trophic interactions translate to changes in persistence time of extinction-prone species. We assembled interaction webs of protist consumers and turbellarian predators with eight different combinations of prey, predators and nonprey species, and recorded abundances for over 130 prey generations. Persistence of predation-susceptible species was increased by the presence of nonprey. Furthermore, multiple nonprey species acted synergistically to increase prey persistence, such that persistence was greater than would be predicted from the dynamics of simpler food webs. We also found evidence suggesting increased food web complexity may weaken interspecific competition, increasing persistence of poorer competitors. Our results demonstrate that persistence times in complex food webs cannot be predicted from the dynamics of simplified systems, and that species not directly involved in consumptive interactions likely play key roles in maintaining persistence. Global species diversity is currently declining at an unprecedented rate and our findings reveal that concurrent loss of species that modify trophic interactions may have unpredictable consequences for food web stability.

  7. Food web complexity and stability across habitat connectivity gradients.

    PubMed

    LeCraw, Robin M; Kratina, Pavel; Srivastava, Diane S

    2014-12-01

    The effects of habitat connectivity on food webs have been studied both empirically and theoretically, yet the question of whether empirical results support theoretical predictions for any food web metric other than species richness has received little attention. Our synthesis brings together theory and empirical evidence for how habitat connectivity affects both food web stability and complexity. Food web stability is often predicted to be greatest at intermediate levels of connectivity, representing a compromise between the stabilizing effects of dispersal via rescue effects and prey switching, and the destabilizing effects of dispersal via regional synchronization of population dynamics. Empirical studies of food web stability generally support both this pattern and underlying mechanisms. Food chain length has been predicted to have both increasing and unimodal relationships with connectivity as a result of predators being constrained by the patch occupancy of their prey. Although both patterns have been documented empirically, the underlying mechanisms may differ from those predicted by models. In terms of other measures of food web complexity, habitat connectivity has been empirically found to generally increase link density but either reduce or have no effect on connectance, whereas a unimodal relationship is expected. In general, there is growing concordance between empirical patterns and theoretical predictions for some effects of habitat connectivity on food webs, but many predictions remain to be tested over a full connectivity gradient, and empirical metrics of complexity are rarely modeled. Closing these gaps will allow a deeper understanding of how natural and anthropogenic changes in connectivity can affect real food webs.

  8. A role for brain size and cognition in food webs.

    PubMed

    Edmunds, Nicholas B; Laberge, Frédéric; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-08-01

    Predators tend to be large and mobile, enabling them to forage in spatially distinct food web compartments (e.g. littoral and pelagic aquatic macrohabitats). This feature can stabilise ecosystems when predators are capable of rapid behavioural response to changing resource conditions in distinct habitat compartments. However, what provides this ability to respond behaviourally has not been quantified. We hypothesised that predators require increased cognitive abilities to occupy their position in a food web, which puts pressure to increase brain size. Consistent with food web theory, we found that fish relative brain size increased with increased ability to forage across macrohabitats and increased relative trophic positions in a lacustrine food web, indicating that larger brains may afford the cognitive capacity to exploit various habitats flexibly, thus contributing to the stability of whole food webs. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  9. Food-web dynamics in a large river discontinuum

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cross, Wyatt F.; Baxter, Colden V.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.; Hall, Robert O.; Kennedy, Theodore A.; Donner, Kevin C.; Kelly, Holly A. Wellard; Seegert, Sarah E.Z.; Behn, Kathrine E.; Yard, Michael D.

    2013-01-01

    Nearly all ecosystems have been altered by human activities, and most communities are now composed of interacting species that have not co-evolved. These changes may modify species interactions, energy and material flows, and food-web stability. Although structural changes to ecosystems have been widely reported, few studies have linked such changes to dynamic food-web attributes and patterns of energy flow. Moreover, there have been few tests of food-web stability theory in highly disturbed and intensely managed freshwater ecosystems. Such synthetic approaches are needed for predicting the future trajectory of ecosystems, including how they may respond to natural or anthropogenic perturbations. We constructed flow food webs at six locations along a 386-km segment of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA) for three years. We characterized food-web structure and production, trophic basis of production, energy efficiencies, and interaction-strength distributions across a spatial gradient of perturbation (i.e., distance from Glen Canyon Dam), as well as before and after an experimental flood. We found strong longitudinal patterns in food-web characteristics that strongly correlated with the spatial position of large tributaries. Above tributaries, food webs were dominated by nonnative New Zealand mudsnails (62% of production) and nonnative rainbow trout (100% of fish production). The simple structure of these food webs led to few dominant energy pathways (diatoms to few invertebrate taxa to rainbow trout), large energy inefficiencies (i.e., Below large tributaries, invertebrate production declined ∼18-fold, while fish production remained similar to upstream sites and comprised predominately native taxa (80–100% of production). Sites below large tributaries had increasingly reticulate and detritus-based food webs with a higher prevalence of omnivory, as well as interaction strength distributions more typical of theoretically stable food webs (i

  10. Adaptations in a hierarchical food web of southeastern Lake Michigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krause, Ann E.; Frank, Ken A.; Jones, Michael L.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Barbiero, Richard P.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Agy, Megan; Evans, Marlene S.; Taylor, William W.; Mason, Doran M.; Leonard, Nancy J.

    2009-01-01

    Two issues in ecological network theory are: (1) how to construct an ecological network model and (2) how do entire networks (as opposed to individual species) adapt to changing conditions? We present a novel method for constructing an ecological network model for the food web of southeastern Lake Michigan (USA) and we identify changes in key system properties that are large relative to their uncertainty as this ecological network adapts from one time point to a second time point in response to multiple perturbations. To construct our food web for southeastern Lake Michigan, we followed the list of seven recommendations outlined in Cohen et al. [Cohen, J.E., et al., 1993. Improving food webs. Ecology 74, 252–258] for improving food webs. We explored two inter-related extensions of hierarchical system theory with our food web; the first one was that subsystems react to perturbations independently in the short-term and the second one was that a system's properties change at a slower rate than its subsystems’ properties. We used Shannon's equations to provide quantitative versions of the basic food web properties: number of prey, number of predators, number of feeding links, and connectance (or density). We then compared these properties between the two time-periods by developing distributions of each property for each time period that took uncertainty about the property into account. We compared these distributions, and concluded that non-overlapping distributions indicated changes in these properties that were large relative to their uncertainty. Two subsystems were identified within our food web system structure (p < 0.001). One subsystem had more non-overlapping distributions in food web properties between Time 1 and Time 2 than the other subsystem. The overall system had all overlapping distributions in food web properties between Time 1 and Time 2. These results supported both extensions of hierarchical systems theory. Interestingly, the subsystem with more

  11. An Ecosystem Approach for understanding status and changes of Nador lagoon (Morocco): application for of food web models and ecosystem indices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bocci, M.; Brigolin, D.; Pranovi, F.; Najih, M.; Nachite, D.; Pastres, R.

    2016-03-01

    The work applies food web models to the Lagoon of Nador (Morocco) and subsequently estimates ecosystem indices. This effort supports the evaluation of the ecosystem status and the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp), endorsed by the contracting parties of the Barcelona Convention for the Mediterranean Sea. The Lagoon of Nador, on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, suffered from eutrophication during recent decades. We used indices derived from Ecological Network Analysis for investigating the most relevant features of ecosystem functioning in the decade 2000-2010 (present scenario), and comparing them with those of the 1980s (past scenario). As the Lagoon includes different habitats, the methodology was applied to each of them, in order to assess their contribution to the functioning of the whole ecosystem. Results highlighted an increase in Total System Throughput (TST) in the present scenario when compared with the past one, also associated to an increase of Total Respiration (TR) and of the ratio between Total Primary Production and Total Respiration (TPP/TR). Under the present scenario Nador lagoon shows a decreased cycling efficiency. The sensitivity analysis highlighted the capability of TST and Comprehensive Cycling Index (CCI) in detecting changes, in agreement with other recent studies on responses of food web functioning to eutrophication. The results are discussed in respect to three specific aspects, related with the application of food Web Models and Ecological Network Analysis in the EcAp context: i) data availability; ii) spatialization of indicators; iii) selected set of indicators. The results also highlight the important role of sensitivity/uncertainty analysis when implementing food web models in data-scarce systems.

  12. Food web and fish stock changes in central Chile: comparing the roles of jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) predation, the environment, and fisheries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neira, Sergio; Arancibia, Hugo

    2013-10-01

    We analyzed recent food web and fish stock changes in the central Chile marine ecosystem, comparing the roles of jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) as predator, the environment, and fishing. To accomplish this we used food web modeling and the Ecopath with Ecosim software (EwE). The principal fish stocks have experienced wide decadal fluctuations in the past 30 years, including stock collapses of horse mackerel (Trachurus murphyi) and hake (Merluccius gayi), and there was a large influx of jumbo squid during the mid-2000s. We used two EwE models representing the food web off central Chile to test the hypothesis that predation by jumbo squid has been significant in explaining the dynamics of the main fishing resources and other species in the study area. Results indicate that predation by jumbo squid on fish stocks is lower than that of other predators (e.g. hake) and the fishery. Long-term fluctuations (1978-2004) in the biomass of the main fish stocks (as well as other components of the food web) seem to be related to fishing and to variation in primary production, rather than to predation by jumbo squid alone. Jumbo squid seems to play a role as predator rather than prey in the system, but its impacts are low when compared with the impacts of other predators and fishing. Therefore, we conclude that jumbo squid predation on its prey was not the primary force behind the collapse of important fish stocks off central Chile. Future efforts should be directed to better understanding factors that trigger sudden increases in jumbo squid abundance off central Chile, as well as modeling its trophic impacts.

  13. Food web persistence in fragmented landscapes.

    PubMed

    Liao, Jinbao; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2017-07-26

    Habitat destruction, characterized by patch loss and fragmentation, is a key driver of biodiversity loss. There has been some progress in the theory of spatial food webs; however, to date, practically nothing is known about how patch configurational fragmentation influences multi-trophic food web dynamics. We develop a spatially extended patch-dynamic model for different food webs by linking patch connectivity with trophic-dependent dispersal (i.e. higher trophic levels displaying longer-range dispersal). Using this model, we find that species display different sensitivities to patch loss and fragmentation, depending on their trophic position and the overall food web structure. Relative to other food webs, omnivory structure significantly increases system robustness to habitat destruction, as feeding on different trophic levels increases the omnivore's persistence. Additionally, in food webs with a dispersal-competition trade-off between species, intermediate levels of habitat destruction can enhance biodiversity by creating refuges for the weaker competitor. This demonstrates that maximizing patch connectivity is not always effective for biodiversity maintenance, as in food webs containing indirect competition, doing so may lead to further species loss. © 2017 The Author(s).

  14. Dining Dovekies Demand, "When, Where and What's for Dinner?" The Impact of Seasonal Changes in Snow Melt and the Development of the Arctic Marine Food Web on Seabirds.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karnovsky, N. J.; Harding, A.; Welcker, J.; Brown, Z. W.; Kitaysky, A.; Kwasniewski, S.; Walkusz, W.; Gremillet, D.

    2011-12-01

    The Atlantic sector of the Arctic is undergoing widespread climate change with increases in air and sea temperatures which impact the timing of ice retreat, snow melt and the development of the marine food web. Dovekies (Alle alle) are small seabirds that migrate to the Atlantic Sector of the Arctic to feed in ice free waters that have abundant lipid-rich zooplankton. In the Greenland Sea, the dovekies are largely dependent on the advection of Calanus copepods into the area. We hypothesized that dovekies breeding adjacent to water masses which bring smaller, less energy-rich prey into the region (Calanus finmarchicus), work harder to find food and have higher stress levels. We tested this hypothesis by attaching time-depth recorders to provisioning dovekies at three colonies adjacent to different water masses (the West Spistbergen Current, the East Greenland Current, and the Sorkapp Current). We determined the length of time dovekies at different colonies spent at-sea collecting food for themselves and their chicks. We measured circulating corticosteroid hormone levels in their blood to assess stress levels. We collected chick meals to determine the energetic content of prey fed chicks at the different colonies. We found that dovekies are sensitive to the quality of prey available to them. Dovekies exposed to less profitable prey made longer foraging trips and worked harder while at-sea to collect prey for themselves and their chicks. Furthermore, over the past 50 years, dovekies breeding along the western shores of Spitsbergen have initiated breeding earlier in spring as their nest sites have become snow-free at earlier dates. We evaluate the impact of earlier breeding and the timing of the development of the marine food web within different currents which advect and/or support Calanus copepods into the Greenland Sea. Future possible declines in dovekies may impact terrestrial food webs which are highly influenced by the annual input of nitrogen rich guano on the

  15. Impact of changing ice cover on pelagic productivity and food web structure in Disko Bay, West Greenland: a dynamic model approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hansen, Anja Skjoldborg; Nielsen, Torkel Gissel; Levinsen, Henrik; Madsen, Siz D.; Thingstad, T. Frede; Hansen, Benni Winding

    2003-01-01

    A rise in global temperatures could potentially lead to less ice in the Arctic, including a reduction in the ice-covered period. The consequence of a changing ice cover on the food web structure and production in Disko Bay, Western Greenland, is analysed through application of a dynamical model for the planktonic food web. The model is successfully calibrated and tested for sensitivity, using a detailed data set for 1996-1997. Model scenarios are (1) extended ice cover and (2) no ice. These scenarios are compared to model runs with measured ice cover in two normal years. In the extended ice scenario, assuming unchanged copepod behaviour, copepods are starving or feeding in the ice/water interface from the time they ascend to the surface layer from over-wintering depths until the ice break-up in June. The total annual primary production reaches the same level as it does in the average year, but copepod ingestion and, as a consequence, vertical carbon export is reduced by app. 40%. In the ice-free situation, an early diatom bloom is initiated by stratification of the water in March, before the copepods ascend. The diatom bloom is grazed upon by protozooplankton, which reach a high biomass before the copepods ascend in April. Annual primary production increases by 52% while copepod ingestion and vertical loss of carbon is reduced by 57%. This study illustrates how a change in the ice cover in Arctic areas can potentially create a mismatch between spring primary production and copepod grazers. The result may be a planktonic food web dominated by protozooplankton, resulting in lower export of organic material out of the photic zone despite increased primary productivity, or alternatively lead to changes in species composition or behaviour.

  16. A robust measure of food web intervality

    PubMed Central

    Stouffer, Daniel B.; Camacho, Juan; Amaral, Luís A. Nunes

    2006-01-01

    Intervality of a food web is related to the number of trophic dimensions characterizing the niches in a community. We introduce here a mathematically robust measure for food web intervality. It has previously been noted that empirical food webs are not strictly interval; however, upon comparison to suitable null hypotheses, we conclude that empirical food webs actually do exhibit a strong bias toward contiguity of prey, that is, toward intervality. Further, our results strongly suggest that empirically observed species and their diets can be mapped onto a single dimension. This finding validates a critical assumption in the recently proposed static niche model and provides guidance for ongoing efforts to develop dynamic models of ecosystems. PMID:17146055

  17. A robust measure of food web intervality.

    PubMed

    Stouffer, Daniel B; Camacho, Juan; Amaral, Luís A Nunes

    2006-12-12

    Intervality of a food web is related to the number of trophic dimensions characterizing the niches in a community. We introduce here a mathematically robust measure for food web intervality. It has previously been noted that empirical food webs are not strictly interval; however, upon comparison to suitable null hypotheses, we conclude that empirical food webs actually do exhibit a strong bias toward contiguity of prey, that is, toward intervality. Further, our results strongly suggest that empirically observed species and their diets can be mapped onto a single dimension. This finding validates a critical assumption in the recently proposed static niche model and provides guidance for ongoing efforts to develop dynamic models of ecosystems.

  18. Persistence in Food Webs. I. Lotka-Volterra Food Chains,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1978-07-01

    0256 UNCLASSIFIED N i EE’hEZE *1 Al 1,1 IqI 0 - r ~PERSISTENCE IN FOOD WEBS.A I. LOTKA - VOLTERRA FOOD CHAINS Thomas C./Gard en9 Mt aisFEB 2 7 1980...2260n80 PERSISTENCE IN FOOD WEBS: \\’ ,.’ ’,-’ - 1. LOTKA - VOLTERRA FOOD CHAINS Thomas C. Gard and Thomas G. Hallam \\\\ . ’ \\7 INTRODUCTION bf numerous...modelled by Lotka - Volterra dynamics are determined. Here a simple food chain has a single species composing each trophic level with its dynamics

  19. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web.

    PubMed

    Wirta, Helena K; Vesterinen, Eero J; Hambäck, Peter A; Weingartner, Elisabeth; Rasmussen, Claus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Schmidt, Niels M; Gilg, Olivier; Roslin, Tomas

    2015-09-01

    How food webs are structured has major implications for their stability and dynamics. While poorly studied to date, arctic food webs are commonly assumed to be simple in structure, with few links per species. If this is the case, then different parts of the web may be weakly connected to each other, with populations and species united by only a low number of links. We provide the first highly resolved description of trophic link structure for a large part of a high-arctic food web. For this purpose, we apply a combination of recent techniques to describing the links between three predator guilds (insectivorous birds, spiders, and lepidopteran parasitoids) and their two dominant prey orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera). The resultant web shows a dense link structure and no compartmentalization or modularity across the three predator guilds. Thus, both individual predators and predator guilds tap heavily into the prey community of each other, offering versatile scope for indirect interactions across different parts of the web. The current description of a first but single arctic web may serve as a benchmark toward which to gauge future webs resolved by similar techniques. Targeting an unusual breadth of predator guilds, and relying on techniques with a high resolution, it suggests that species in this web are closely connected. Thus, our findings call for similar explorations of link structure across multiple guilds in both arctic and other webs. From an applied perspective, our description of an arctic web suggests new avenues for understanding how arctic food webs are built and function and of how they respond to current climate change. It suggests that to comprehend the community-level consequences of rapid arctic warming, we should turn from analyses of populations, population pairs, and isolated predator-prey interactions to considering the full set of interacting species.

  20. Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web

    PubMed Central

    Wirta, Helena K; Vesterinen, Eero J; Hambäck, Peter A; Weingartner, Elisabeth; Rasmussen, Claus; Reneerkens, Jeroen; Schmidt, Niels M; Gilg, Olivier; Roslin, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    How food webs are structured has major implications for their stability and dynamics. While poorly studied to date, arctic food webs are commonly assumed to be simple in structure, with few links per species. If this is the case, then different parts of the web may be weakly connected to each other, with populations and species united by only a low number of links. We provide the first highly resolved description of trophic link structure for a large part of a high-arctic food web. For this purpose, we apply a combination of recent techniques to describing the links between three predator guilds (insectivorous birds, spiders, and lepidopteran parasitoids) and their two dominant prey orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera). The resultant web shows a dense link structure and no compartmentalization or modularity across the three predator guilds. Thus, both individual predators and predator guilds tap heavily into the prey community of each other, offering versatile scope for indirect interactions across different parts of the web. The current description of a first but single arctic web may serve as a benchmark toward which to gauge future webs resolved by similar techniques. Targeting an unusual breadth of predator guilds, and relying on techniques with a high resolution, it suggests that species in this web are closely connected. Thus, our findings call for similar explorations of link structure across multiple guilds in both arctic and other webs. From an applied perspective, our description of an arctic web suggests new avenues for understanding how arctic food webs are built and function and of how they respond to current climate change. It suggests that to comprehend the community-level consequences of rapid arctic warming, we should turn from analyses of populations, population pairs, and isolated predator–prey interactions to considering the full set of interacting species. PMID:26380710

  1. Food Chain to Food Web: A Natural Progression?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webb, Paul; Boltt, Gill

    1990-01-01

    Investigated is the ability of high school pupils and university students to answer questions based on relationships within food webs using sound ecological principles. Research methods used and the results of this study are discussed. (CW)

  2. Food Chain to Food Web: A Natural Progression?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Webb, Paul; Boltt, Gill

    1990-01-01

    Investigated is the ability of high school pupils and university students to answer questions based on relationships within food webs using sound ecological principles. Research methods used and the results of this study are discussed. (CW)

  3. Does temporal variation of mercury levels in Arctic seabirds reflect changes in global environmental contamination, or a modification of Arctic marine food web functioning?

    PubMed

    Fort, Jérôme; Grémillet, David; Traisnel, Gwendoline; Amélineau, Françoise; Bustamante, Paco

    2016-04-01

    Studying long-term trends of contaminants in Arctic biota is essential to better understand impacts of anthropogenic activities and climate change on the exposure of sensitive species and marine ecosystems. We concurrently measured temporal changes (2006-2014) in mercury (Hg) contamination of little auks (Alle alle; the most abundant Arctic seabird) and in their major zooplankton prey species (Calanoid copepods, Themisto libellula, Gammarus spp.). We found an increasing contamination of the food-chain in East Greenland during summer over the last decade. More specifically, bird contamination (determined by body feather analyses) has increased at a rate of 3.4% per year. Conversely, bird exposure to Hg during winter in the northwest Atlantic (determined by head feather analyses) decreased over the study period (at a rate of 1.5% per year), although winter concentrations remained consistently higher than during summer. By combining mercury levels measured in birds and zooplankton to isotopic analyses, our results demonstrate that inter-annual variations of Hg levels in little auks reflect changes in food-chain contamination, rather than a reorganization of the food web and a modification of seabird trophic ecology. They therefore underline the value of little auks, and Arctic seabirds in general, as bio-indicators of long-term changes in environmental contamination. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Soil processes and tree growth at shooting ranges in a boreal forest reflect contamination history and lead-induced changes in soil food webs.

    PubMed

    Selonen, Salla; Setälä, Heikki

    2015-06-15

    The effects of shooting-derived lead (Pb) on the structure and functioning of a forest ecosystem, and the recovery of the ecosystem after range abandonment were studied at an active shotgun shooting range, an abandoned shooting range where shooting ceased 20 years earlier and an uncontaminated control site. Despite numerous lead-induced changes in the soil food web, soil processes were only weakly related to soil food web composition. However, decomposition of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) needle litter was retarded at the active shooting range, and microbial activity, microbial biomass and the rate of decomposition of Pb-contaminated grass litter decreased with increasing soil Pb concentrations. Tree (P. sylvestris) radial growth was suppressed at the active shooting range right after shooting activities started. In contrast, the growth of pines improved at the abandoned shooting range after the cessation of shooting, despite reduced nitrogen and phosphorus contents of the needles. Higher litter degradation rates and lower Pb concentrations in the topmost soil layer at the abandoned shooting range suggest gradual recovery after range abandonment. Our findings suggest that functions in lead-contaminated coniferous forest ecosystems depend on the successional stage of the forest as well as the time since the contamination source has been eliminated, which affects, e.g., the vertical distribution of the contaminant in the soil. However, despite multiple lead-induced changes throughout the ecosystem, the effects were rather weak, indicating high resistance of coniferous forest ecosystems to this type of stress.

  5. Inducible defenses in food webs: Chapter 3.4

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vos, Matthijs; Kooi, Bob W.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.; de Ruiter, Peter; Wolters, Volkmar; Moore, John C.; Melville-Smith, Kimberly

    2005-01-01

    This chapter reviews the predicted effects of induced defenses on trophic structure and two aspects of stability, “local” stability and persistence, as well as presenting novel results on a third, resilience. Food webs are structures of populations in a given location organized according to their predator–prey interactions. Interaction strengths and, therefore, prey defenses are generally recognized as important ecological factors affecting food webs. Despite this, surprisingly, little light has been shed on the food web-level consequences of inducible defenses. Inducible defenses occur in many taxa in both terrestrial and aquatic food webs. They include refuge use, reduced activity, adaptive life history changes, the production of toxins, synomones and extrafloral nectar, and the formation of colonies, helmets, thorns, or spines. In the chapter, theoretical results for the effects of inducible defenses on trophic structure and the three aspects of stability are reviewed. This is done, in part, using bifurcation analysis—a type of analysis that is applied to nonlinear dynamic systems described by a set of ordinary differential or difference equations. The work presented in the chapter suggests that heterogeneity, as caused by induced defenses in prey species, has major effects on the functioning of food webs. Inducible defenses occur in many species in both aquatic and terrestrial systems, and theoretical work indicates they have major effects on important food web properties such as trophic structure, local stability, persistence, and resilience.

  6. Barcoding a quantified food web: crypsis, concepts, ecology and hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Smith, M Alex; Eveleigh, Eldon S; McCann, Kevin S; Merilo, Mark T; McCarthy, Peter C; Van Rooyen, Kathleen I

    2011-01-01

    outbreaks. Integrating standardized barcodes within food webs may ultimately change the face of community ecology. This will be most poignantly felt in food webs that have not yet been quantified. Here, more accurate and precise connections will be within the grasp of any researcher for the first time.

  7. Barcoding a Quantified Food Web: Crypsis, Concepts, Ecology and Hypotheses

    PubMed Central

    Smith, M. Alex; Eveleigh, Eldon S.; McCann, Kevin S.; Merilo, Mark T.; McCarthy, Peter C.; Van Rooyen, Kathleen I.

    2011-01-01

    budworm outbreaks. Integrating standardized barcodes within food webs may ultimately change the face of community ecology. This will be most poignantly felt in food webs that have not yet been quantified. Here, more accurate and precise connections will be within the grasp of any researcher for the first time. PMID:21754977

  8. Phenotypic variation explains food web structural patterns.

    PubMed

    Gibert, Jean P; DeLong, John P

    2017-10-02

    Food webs (i.e., networks of species and their feeding interactions) share multiple structural features across ecosystems. The factors explaining such similarities are still debated, and the role played by most organismal traits and their intraspecific variation is unknown. Here, we assess how variation in traits controlling predator-prey interactions (e.g., body size) affects food web structure. We show that larger phenotypic variation increases connectivity among predators and their prey as well as total food intake rate. For predators able to eat only a few species (i.e., specialists), low phenotypic variation maximizes intake rates, while the opposite is true for consumers with broader diets (i.e., generalists). We also show that variation sets predator trophic level by determining interaction strengths with prey at different trophic levels. Merging these results, we make two general predictions about the structure of food webs: (i) trophic level should increase with predator connectivity, and (ii) interaction strengths should decrease with prey trophic level. We confirm these predictions empirically using a global dataset of well-resolved food webs. Our results provide understanding of the processes structuring food webs that include functional traits and their naturally occurring variation. Published under the PNAS license.

  9. Effects of climate change on bioaccumulation and biomagnification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the planktonic food web of a subtropical shallow eutrophic lake in China.

    PubMed

    Tao, Yuqiang; Xue, Bin; Lei, Guoliang; Liu, Fei; Wang, Zhen

    2017-04-01

    To date effects of climate change on bioaccumulation and biomagnification of chemical pollutants in planktonic food webs have rarely been studied. Recruitments of plankton have shifted earlier due to global warming. Global warming and precipitation patterns are projected to shift seasonally. Whether and how the shifts in plankton phenology induced by climate change will impact bioaccumulation and biomagnification of chemical pollutants, and how they will respond to climate change are largely unknown. Here, we combine data analysis of the past seven decades, high temporal resolution monitoring and model development to test this hypothesis with nine polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the planktonic food web of a subtropical shallow eutrophic lake in China. We find biphasic correlations between both bioconcentration factors and bioaccumulation factors of the PAHs and the mean temperature, which depend on the recruitment temperatures of cyanobacteria, and copepods and cladocerans. The positive correlations between bioconcentration factors, bioaccumulation factors and the mean temperature will be observed less than approximately 13-18 days by 2050-2060 due to the shifts in plankton phenology. The PAHs and their bioaccumulation and biomagnification will respond seasonally and differently to climate change. Bioaccumulation of most of the PAHs will decrease with global warming, with higher decreasing rates appearing in winter and spring. Biomagnification of most of the PAHs from phytoplankton to zooplankton will increase with global warming, with higher increasing rates appearing in winter and spring. Our study provides novel insights into bioaccumulation and biomagnification of chemical pollutants in eutrophic waters under climate change scenarios. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Nutrient dynamics and food-web stability

    SciTech Connect

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Mulholland, P.J.; Palumbo, A.V.; Steinman, A.D.; Huston, M.A.; Elwood, J.W. )

    1989-01-01

    The importance of nutrient limitation and recycling in ecosystems is widely recognized. Nutrients, defined in the broad sense as all material elements vital to biological functions, are in such small supply that they limit production in many ecosystems. Such limitation can affect ecosystem properties, including the structure and dynamics of the food webs that link species through their feeding relationships. What are the effects of limiting nutrients on the stability of ecosystem food webs Most of the literature on food web stability centers around the dynamics of population numbers and/or biomasses. Nevertheless, a growing body of theoretical and empirical research considers the role that both nutrient limitation and recycling can play in stability. In this paper, it is the authors objective to summarize the current understanding of several important types of stability. The theoretical and empirical evidence relating these types of stability and nutrient cycling is described. A central generalization is produced in each case.

  11. Climate driven changes in hydrology, nutrient cycling, and food web dynamics in surface waters of the Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koch, J. C.; Wipfli, M.; Schmutz, J.; Gurney, K.

    2011-12-01

    Arctic ecosystems are changing rapidly as a result of a warming climate. While many areas of the arctic are expected to dry as a result of warming, the Arctic Coastal Plain (ACP) of Alaska, which extends from the Brooks Range north to the Beaufort Sea will likely become wetter, because subsurface hydrologic fluxes are constrained by thick, continuous permafrost. This landscape is characterized by large, oriented lakes and many smaller ponds that form in the low centers and troughs/edges of frost polygons. This region provides important breeding habitat for many migratory birds including loons, arctic terns, eiders, shorebirds, and white-fronted geese, among others. Increased hydrologic fluxes may provide a bottom-up control on the success of these species by altering the availability of food resources including invertebrates and fish. This work aimed to 1) characterize surface water fluxes and nutrient availability in the small streams and lake types of two study regions in the ACP, 2) predict how increased hydrological fluxes will affect the lakes, streams, and water chemistry, and 3) use nutrient additions to simulate likely changes in lake chemistry and invertebrate availability. Initial observations suggest that increasing wetland areas and availability of nutrients will result in increased invertebrate abundance, while the potential for drainage and terrestrialization of larger lakes may reduce fish abundance and overwintering habitat. These changes will likely have positive implications for insectivores and negative implications for piscivorous waterfowl.

  12. Analytical solution of a model for complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Camacho, Juan; Guimerà, Roger; Amaral, Luís A.

    2002-03-01

    We investigate numerically and analytically a recently proposed model for food webs [Nature 404, 180 (2000)] in the limit of large web sizes and sparse interaction matrices. We obtain analytical expressions for several quantities with ecological interest, in particular, the probability distributions for the number of prey and the number of predators. We find that these distributions have fast-decaying exponential and Gaussian tails, respectively. We also find that our analytical expressions are robust to changes in the details of the model.

  13. Food terrorism and food defense on the Web.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Mary Kay

    2008-01-01

    Global food supplies are at risk of both accidental and deliberate contamination. As past incidents have demonstrated, food terrorism may cause social, economic, and political disruption. The United States increased its efforts to protect its food after 9/11 by broadening the roles of existing agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, and by making coordination of food defense the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security. However, weaknesses in the system remain. This article presents background information and Web sites useful for consumers, industry representatives, students, researchers, policy makers, and the librarians that serve them.

  14. Environmental controls on food web regimes: A fluvial perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, Mary E.

    2006-02-01

    Because food web regimes control the biomass of primary producers (e.g., plants or algae), intermediate consumers (e.g., invertebrates), and large top predators (tuna, killer whales), they are of societal as well as academic interest. Some controls over food web regimes may be internal, but many are mediated by conditions or fluxes over large spatial scales. To understand locally observed changes in food webs, we must learn more about how environmental gradients and boundaries affect the fluxes of energy, materials, or organisms through landscapes or seascapes that influence local species interactions. Marine biologists and oceanographers have overcome formidable challenges of fieldwork on the high seas to make remarkable progress towards this goal. In river drainage networks, we have opportunities to address similar questions at smaller spatial scales, in ecosystems with clear physical structure and organization. Despite these advantages, we still have much to learn about linkages between fluxes from watershed landscapes and local food webs in river networks. Longitudinal (downstream) gradients in productivity, disturbance regimes, and habitat structure exert strong effects on the organisms and energy sources of river food webs, but their effects on species interactions are just beginning to be explored. In fluid ecosystems with less obvious physical structure, like the open ocean, discerning features that control the movement of organisms and affect food web dynamics is even more challenging. In both habitats, new sensing, tracing and mapping technologies have revealed how landscape or seascape features (e.g., watershed divides, ocean fronts or circulation cells) channel, contain or concentrate organisms, energy and materials. Field experiments and direct in situ observations of basic natural history, however, remain as vital as ever in interpreting the responses of biota to these features. We need field data that quantify the many spatial and temporal scales of

  15. Food-web stability signals critical transitions in temperate shallow lakes.

    PubMed

    Kuiper, Jan J; van Altena, Cassandra; de Ruiter, Peter C; van Gerven, Luuk P A; Janse, Jan H; Mooij, Wolf M

    2015-07-15

    A principal aim of ecologists is to identify critical levels of environmental change beyond which ecosystems undergo radical shifts in their functioning. Both food-web theory and alternative stable states theory provide fundamental clues to mechanisms conferring stability to natural systems. Yet, it is unclear how the concept of food-web stability is associated with the resilience of ecosystems susceptible to regime change. Here, we use a combination of food web and ecosystem modelling to show that impending catastrophic shifts in shallow lakes are preceded by a destabilizing reorganization of interaction strengths in the aquatic food web. Analysis of the intricate web of trophic interactions reveals that only few key interactions, involving zooplankton, diatoms and detritus, dictate the deterioration of food-web stability. Our study exposes a tight link between food-web dynamics and the dynamics of the whole ecosystem, implying that trophic organization may serve as an empirical indicator of ecosystem resilience.

  16. Food-web stability signals critical transitions in temperate shallow lakes

    PubMed Central

    Kuiper, Jan J.; van Altena, Cassandra; de Ruiter, Peter C.; van Gerven, Luuk P. A.; Janse, Jan H.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2015-01-01

    A principal aim of ecologists is to identify critical levels of environmental change beyond which ecosystems undergo radical shifts in their functioning. Both food-web theory and alternative stable states theory provide fundamental clues to mechanisms conferring stability to natural systems. Yet, it is unclear how the concept of food-web stability is associated with the resilience of ecosystems susceptible to regime change. Here, we use a combination of food web and ecosystem modelling to show that impending catastrophic shifts in shallow lakes are preceded by a destabilizing reorganization of interaction strengths in the aquatic food web. Analysis of the intricate web of trophic interactions reveals that only few key interactions, involving zooplankton, diatoms and detritus, dictate the deterioration of food-web stability. Our study exposes a tight link between food-web dynamics and the dynamics of the whole ecosystem, implying that trophic organization may serve as an empirical indicator of ecosystem resilience. PMID:26173798

  17. Food-Web Structure of Seagrass Communities across Different Spatial Scales and Human Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Coll, Marta; Schmidt, Allison; Romanuk, Tamara; Lotze, Heike K.

    2011-01-01

    Seagrass beds provide important habitat for a wide range of marine species but are threatened by multiple human impacts in coastal waters. Although seagrass communities have been well-studied in the field, a quantification of their food-web structure and functioning, and how these change across space and human impacts has been lacking. Motivated by extensive field surveys and literature information, we analyzed the structural features of food webs associated with Zostera marina across 16 study sites in 3 provinces in Atlantic Canada. Our goals were to (i) quantify differences in food-web structure across local and regional scales and human impacts, (ii) assess the robustness of seagrass webs to simulated species loss, and (iii) compare food-web structure in temperate Atlantic seagrass beds with those of other aquatic ecosystems. We constructed individual food webs for each study site and cumulative webs for each province and the entire region based on presence/absence of species, and calculated 16 structural properties for each web. Our results indicate that food-web structure was similar among low impact sites across regions. With increasing human impacts associated with eutrophication, however, food-web structure show evidence of degradation as indicated by fewer trophic groups, lower maximum trophic level of the highest top predator, fewer trophic links connecting top to basal species, higher fractions of herbivores and intermediate consumers, and higher number of prey per species. These structural changes translate into functional changes with impacted sites being less robust to simulated species loss. Temperate Atlantic seagrass webs are similar to a tropical seagrass web, yet differed from other aquatic webs, suggesting consistent food-web characteristics across seagrass ecosystems in different regions. Our study illustrates that food-web structure and functioning of seagrass habitats change with human impacts and that the spatial scale of food-web analysis

  18. Food-web structure of seagrass communities across different spatial scales and human impacts.

    PubMed

    Coll, Marta; Schmidt, Allison; Romanuk, Tamara; Lotze, Heike K

    2011-01-01

    Seagrass beds provide important habitat for a wide range of marine species but are threatened by multiple human impacts in coastal waters. Although seagrass communities have been well-studied in the field, a quantification of their food-web structure and functioning, and how these change across space and human impacts has been lacking. Motivated by extensive field surveys and literature information, we analyzed the structural features of food webs associated with Zostera marina across 16 study sites in 3 provinces in Atlantic Canada. Our goals were to (i) quantify differences in food-web structure across local and regional scales and human impacts, (ii) assess the robustness of seagrass webs to simulated species loss, and (iii) compare food-web structure in temperate Atlantic seagrass beds with those of other aquatic ecosystems. We constructed individual food webs for each study site and cumulative webs for each province and the entire region based on presence/absence of species, and calculated 16 structural properties for each web. Our results indicate that food-web structure was similar among low impact sites across regions. With increasing human impacts associated with eutrophication, however, food-web structure show evidence of degradation as indicated by fewer trophic groups, lower maximum trophic level of the highest top predator, fewer trophic links connecting top to basal species, higher fractions of herbivores and intermediate consumers, and higher number of prey per species. These structural changes translate into functional changes with impacted sites being less robust to simulated species loss. Temperate Atlantic seagrass webs are similar to a tropical seagrass web, yet differed from other aquatic webs, suggesting consistent food-web characteristics across seagrass ecosystems in different regions. Our study illustrates that food-web structure and functioning of seagrass habitats change with human impacts and that the spatial scale of food-web analysis

  19. IsoWeb: a bayesian isotope mixing model for diet analysis of the whole food web.

    PubMed

    Kadoya, Taku; Osada, Yutaka; Takimoto, Gaku

    2012-01-01

    Quantitative description of food webs provides fundamental information for the understanding of population, community, and ecosystem dynamics. Recently, stable isotope mixing models have been widely used to quantify dietary proportions of different food resources to a focal consumer. Here we propose a novel mixing model (IsoWeb) that estimates diet proportions of all consumers in a food web based on stable isotope information. IsoWeb requires a topological description of a food web, and stable isotope signatures of all consumers and resources in the web. A merit of IsoWeb is that it takes into account variation in trophic enrichment factors among different consumer-resource links. Sensitivity analysis using realistic hypothetical food webs suggests that IsoWeb is applicable to a wide variety of food webs differing in the number of species, connectance, sample size, and data variability. Sensitivity analysis based on real topological webs showed that IsoWeb can allow for a certain level of topological uncertainty in target food webs, including erroneously assuming false links, omission of existent links and species, and trophic aggregation into trophospecies. Moreover, using an illustrative application to a real food web, we demonstrated that IsoWeb can compare the plausibility of different candidate topologies for a focal web. These results suggest that IsoWeb provides a powerful tool to analyze food-web structure from stable isotope data. We provide R and BUGS codes to aid efficient applications of IsoWeb.

  20. IsoWeb: A Bayesian Isotope Mixing Model for Diet Analysis of the Whole Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Kadoya, Taku; Osada, Yutaka; Takimoto, Gaku

    2012-01-01

    Quantitative description of food webs provides fundamental information for the understanding of population, community, and ecosystem dynamics. Recently, stable isotope mixing models have been widely used to quantify dietary proportions of different food resources to a focal consumer. Here we propose a novel mixing model (IsoWeb) that estimates diet proportions of all consumers in a food web based on stable isotope information. IsoWeb requires a topological description of a food web, and stable isotope signatures of all consumers and resources in the web. A merit of IsoWeb is that it takes into account variation in trophic enrichment factors among different consumer-resource links. Sensitivity analysis using realistic hypothetical food webs suggests that IsoWeb is applicable to a wide variety of food webs differing in the number of species, connectance, sample size, and data variability. Sensitivity analysis based on real topological webs showed that IsoWeb can allow for a certain level of topological uncertainty in target food webs, including erroneously assuming false links, omission of existent links and species, and trophic aggregation into trophospecies. Moreover, using an illustrative application to a real food web, we demonstrated that IsoWeb can compare the plausibility of different candidate topologies for a focal web. These results suggest that IsoWeb provides a powerful tool to analyze food-web structure from stable isotope data. We provide R and BUGS codes to aid efficient applications of IsoWeb. PMID:22848427

  1. Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants in Lake Ontario, Canada, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) between 1979 and 2004 and possible influences of food-web changes.

    PubMed

    Ismail, Nargis; Gewurtz, Sarah B; Pleskach, Kerri; Whittle, D Michael; Helm, Paul A; Marvin, Chris H; Tomy, Gregg T

    2009-05-01

    Concentrations of non-polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) brominated (hexabromocyclododecane [HBCD], 1,2-bis[2,4,6-tribromophenoxy]ethane [BTBPE], and pentabromoethylbenzene [PEB]) and chlorinated (Dechlorane Plus [DP] as well as short- and medium-chain chlorinated paraffins [SCCP and MCCP, respectively]) flame retardants were evaluated in archived Lake Ontario, Canada, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) samples collected between 1979 and 2004. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers also were analyzed to provide a point of reference for comparison to previous studies. Concentrations of the dominant PBDE congeners (BDEs 28, 47, 99, 100, 153, and 154) increased significantly from 1979 until the mid-1990s, then either leveled off or decreased significantly between 1998 and 2004, a result that corresponds to those of previous studies. In contrast, BDE 209 increased approximately fourfold between 1998 and 2004. The temporal trends of the non-PBDE flame retardants varied, with sum (sigma) HBCD and DP showing significant overall decreases; BTBPE, sigmaSCCP, and sigmaMCCP showing parabolic trends; and PEB showing no overall change during the study period. Because many of the non-PBDE chemicals may be used as replacements for penta- and octa-BDE mixtures, these results will provide a baseline to evaluate future usage patterns. Possible changes in food-web structure, evaluated through stable nitrogen isotopes (delta15N), may be influencing our interpretations of contaminant trends in lake trout and are hypothesized to be partially responsible for the observed decrease in concentrations of BDEs 28, 47, 99, 100, 153, and 154 between 1998 and 2004. Retrospective analyses evaluating temporal trends in stable isotope values at the base of the food web, however, are recommended to test this hypothesis further.

  2. Linking structure and function in food webs: maximization of different ecological functions generates distinct food web structures.

    PubMed

    Yen, Jian D L; Cabral, Reniel B; Cantor, Mauricio; Hatton, Ian; Kortsch, Susanne; Patrício, Joana; Yamamichi, Masato

    2016-03-01

    Trophic interactions are central to ecosystem functioning, but the link between food web structure and ecosystem functioning remains obscure. Regularities (i.e. consistent patterns) in food web structure suggest the possibility of regularities in ecosystem functioning, which might be used to relate structure to function. We introduce a novel, genetic algorithm approach to simulate food webs with maximized throughput (a proxy for ecosystem functioning) and compare the structure of these simulated food webs to real empirical food webs using common metrics of food web structure. We repeat this analysis using robustness to secondary extinctions (a proxy for ecosystem resilience) instead of throughput to determine the relative contributions of ecosystem functioning and ecosystem resilience to food web structure. Simulated food webs that maximized robustness were similar to real food webs when connectance (i.e. levels of interaction across the food web) was high, but this result did not extend to food webs with low connectance. Simulated food webs that maximized throughput or a combination of throughput and robustness were not similar to any real food webs. Simulated maximum-throughput food webs differed markedly from maximum-robustness food webs, which suggests that maximizing different ecological functions can generate distinct food web structures. Based on our results, food web structure would appear to have a stronger relationship with ecosystem resilience than with ecosystem throughput. Our genetic algorithm approach is general and is well suited to large, realistically complex food webs. Genetic algorithms can incorporate constraints on structure and can generate outputs that can be compared directly to empirical data. Our method can be used to explore a range of maximization or minimization hypotheses, providing new perspectives on the links between structure and function in ecological systems.

  3. Food Webs in an Estuary.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dunne, Barbara B.

    The Maryland Marine Science Education Project has produced a series of mini-units in marine science education for the junior high/middle school classroom. This unit focuses on food chains in an estuary. Although the unit specifically treats the Chesapeake Bay, it may be adapted for use with similar estuarine systems. In addition, the unit may be…

  4. Benthic Food Webs of the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas: Relative Importance of Ultimate Carbon Sources in a Changing Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunton, K. H.; Schonberg, S. V.; Mctigue, N.; Bucolo, P. A.; Connelly, T. L.; McClelland, J. W.

    2014-12-01

    Changes in sea-ice cover, coastal erosion, and freshwater run-off have the potential to greatly influence carbon assimilation pathways and affect trophic structure in benthic communities across the western Arctic. In the Chukchi Sea, variations in the duration and timing of ice cover affect the delivery of ice algae to a relatively shallow (40-50 m) shelf benthos. Although ice algae are known as an important spring carbon subsidy for marine benthic fauna, ice algal contributions may also help initiate productivity of an active microphytobenthos. Recent studies provide clear evidence that the microphytobenthos are photosynthetically active, and have sufficient light and nutrients for in situ growth. The assimilation of benthic diatoms from both sources may explain the 13C enrichment observed in benthic primary consumers throughout the northern Chukchi. On the eastern Beaufort Sea coast, shallow (2-4 m) estuarine lagoon systems receive massive subsidies of terrestrial carbon that is assimilated by a benthic fauna of significant importance to upper trophic level species, but again, distinct 13C enrichment in benthic primary consumers suggests the existence of an uncharacterized food source. Since ice algae are absent, we believe the 13C enrichment in benthic fauna is caused by the assimilation of benthic microalgae, as reflected in seasonally high benthic chlorophyll in spring under replete light and nutrient conditions. Our observations suggest that changes in ice cover, on both temporal and spatial scales, are likely to have significant effects on the magnitude and timing of organic matter delivery to both shelf and nearshore systems, and that locally produced organic matter may become an increasingly important carbon subsidy that affects trophic assimilation and secondary ecosystem productivity.

  5. Effects of enrichment on simple aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Persson, A; Hansson, L A; Brönmark, C; Lundberg, P; Pettersson, L B; Greenberg, L; Nilsson, P A; Nyström, P; Romare, P; Tranvik, L

    2001-06-01

    Simple models, based on Lotka-Volterra types of interactions between predator and prey, predict that enrichment will have a destabilizing effect on populations and that equilibrium population densities will change at the top trophic level and every second level below. We experimentally tested these predictions in three aquatic food web configurations subjected to either high or low nutrient additions. The results were structured by viewing the systems as either food chains or webs and showed that trophic level biomass increased with enrichment, which contradicts food chain theory. However, within each trophic level, food web configuration affected the extent to which different functional groups responded to enrichment. By dividing trophic levels into functional groups, based on vulnerability to consumption, we were able to identify significant effects that were obscured when systems were viewed as food chains. The results support the prediction that invulnerable prey may stabilize trophic-level dynamics by replacing other, more vulnerable prey. Furthermore, the vulnerable prey, such as Daphnia and edible algae, responded as predicted by the paradox of enrichment hypothesis; that is, variability in population density increased with enrichment. Hence, by describing ecosystems as a matrix of food web interactions, and by recognizing the interplay between interspecific competition and predation, a more complete description of the ecosystem function was obtained compared to when species were placed into distinct trophic levels.

  6. Priceless prices and marine food webs: Long-term patterns of change and fishing impacts in the South Brazil Bight as reflected by the seafood market

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pincinato, R. B. M.; Gasalla, M. A.

    2010-10-01

    The lack of market variables in fishery systems (i.e., prices and quantities) has often been cited as one reason for the particular difficulty of understanding whole marine ecosystem change and its management under a broader ecosystem perspective. This paper shows the results of efforts to tackle this problem in the South Brazil Bight by compiling and analyzing in-depth an unprecedented 40-year database from the region’s largest wholesale seafood market, based in the megacity of São Paulo. Fishery landings and market values for the period 1968-2007 were analyzed primarily by updated trophic level classes and multispecies indicators including the (1) marine trophic index (MTI), (2) weighted price, and (3) log relative price index (LRPI) which relates prices and trophic levels. Moreover, an inferential analysis of major seafood category statistical trends in market prices and quantities and their positive and negative correlations was undertaken. In general, these market trends contributed substantially to identifying and clarifying the changes that occurred. Considerations of the behavior of demand, supply and markets are included. In particular, while the MTI did not support a “fishing down the marine food web” hypothesis, other indicators did show the continued scarcity of major high trophic level categories and fisheries target species. Overall, the results indicate that the analysis of fishery landings, or of certain other indicators alone, can mask real changes. Rather, a joint ecological-econometric analysis provides better evidence of the direction of ecosystem pressures and stock health. This method for detecting market changes across the food web may be particularly helpful for systems considered data-poor but where fish market data have been archived. This study further elucidates historical changes and fishing impacts in the South Brazil Bight ecosystem.

  7. DEEPWATER AND NEARSHORE FOOD WEB CHARACTERIZATIONS IN LAKE SUPERIOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Due to the difficulty associated with sampling deep aquatic systems, food web relationships among deepwater fauna are often poorly known. We are characterizing nearshore versus offshore habitats in the Great Lakes and investigating food web linkages among profundal, pelagic, and ...

  8. DEEPWATER AND NEARSHORE FOOD WEB CHARACTERIZATIONS IN LAKE SUPERIOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    Due to the difficulty associated with sampling deep aquatic systems, food web relationships among deepwater fauna are often poorly known. We are characterizing nearshore versus offshore habitats in the Great Lakes and investigating food web linkages among profundal, pelagic, and ...

  9. Extinction risk and structure of a food web model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pękalski, Andrzej; Szwabiński, Janusz; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2008-03-01

    We investigate in detail the model of a trophic web proposed by Amaral and Meyer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 652 (1999)]. We focus on small-size systems that are relevant for real biological food webs and for which the fluctuations play an important role. We show, using Monte Carlo simulations, that such webs can be nonviable, leading to extinction of all species in small and/or weakly coupled systems. Estimations of the extinction times and survival chances are also given. We show that before the extinction the fraction of highly connected species (“omnivores”) is increasing. Viable food webs exhibit a pyramidal structure, where the density of occupied niches is higher at lower trophic levels, and moreover the occupations of adjacent levels are closely correlated. We also demonstrate that the distribution of the lengths of food chains has an exponential character and changes weakly with the parameters of the model. On the contrary, the distribution of avalanche sizes of the extinct species depends strongly on the connectedness of the web. For rather loosely connected systems, we recover the power-law type of behavior with the same exponent as found in earlier studies, while for densely connected webs the distribution is not of a power-law type.

  10. Extinction risk and structure of a food web model.

    PubMed

    Pekalski, Andrzej; Szwabiński, Janusz; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2008-03-01

    We investigate in detail the model of a trophic web proposed by Amaral and Meyer [Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 652 (1999)]. We focus on small-size systems that are relevant for real biological food webs and for which the fluctuations play an important role. We show, using Monte Carlo simulations, that such webs can be nonviable, leading to extinction of all species in small and/or weakly coupled systems. Estimations of the extinction times and survival chances are also given. We show that before the extinction the fraction of highly connected species ("omnivores") is increasing. Viable food webs exhibit a pyramidal structure, where the density of occupied niches is higher at lower trophic levels, and moreover the occupations of adjacent levels are closely correlated. We also demonstrate that the distribution of the lengths of food chains has an exponential character and changes weakly with the parameters of the model. On the contrary, the distribution of avalanche sizes of the extinct species depends strongly on the connectedness of the web. For rather loosely connected systems, we recover the power-law type of behavior with the same exponent as found in earlier studies, while for densely connected webs the distribution is not of a power-law type.

  11. Press perturbations and indirect effects in real food webs.

    PubMed

    Montoya, José M; Woodward, Guy; Emmerson, Mark C; Solé, Ricard V

    2009-09-01

    The prediction of the effects of disturbances in natural systems is limited by the general lack of knowledge on the strength of species interactions, i.e., the effect of one species on the population growth rate of another, and by the uncertainty of the effects that may be manifested via indirect pathways within the food web. Here we explored the consequences of changes in species populations for the remaining species within nine exceptionally well-characterized empirical food webs, for which, unlike the vast majority of other published webs, feeding links have been fully quantified. Using the inverse of the Jacobian matrix, we found that perturbations to species with few connections have larger net effects (considering both direct and indirect pathways between two species) on the rest of the food web than do disturbances to species that are highly connected. For 40% of predator-prey links, predators had positive net effects on prey populations, due to the predominance of indirect interactions. Our results highlight the fundamental, but often counterintuitive, role of indirect effects for the maintenance of food web complexity and biodiversity.

  12. Infectious disease agents mediate interaction in food webs and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Selakovic, Sanja; de Ruiter, Peter C; Heesterbeek, Hans

    2014-02-22

    Infectious agents are part of food webs and ecosystems via the relationship with their host species that, in turn, interact with both hosts and non-hosts. Through these interactions, infectious agents influence food webs in terms of structure, functioning and stability. The present literature shows a broad range of impacts of infectious agents on food webs, and by cataloguing that range, we worked towards defining the various mechanisms and their specific effects. To explore the impact, a direct approach is to study changes in food-web properties with infectious agents as separate species in the web, acting as additional nodes, with links to their host species. An indirect approach concentrates not on adding new nodes and links, but on the ways that infectious agents affect the existing links across host and non-host nodes, by influencing the 'quality' of consumer-resource interaction as it depends on the epidemiological state host involved. Both approaches are natural from an ecological point of view, but the indirect approach may connect more straightforwardly to commonly used tools in infectious disease dynamics.

  13. The characteristics of species in an evolutionary food web model.

    PubMed

    Lugo, Carlos A; McKane, Alan J

    2008-06-21

    We explore the consequences of modifying the way in which species are defined in an evolutionary food web model. In the original version of the model, the species were defined in terms of a fixed number of features, chosen from a large number of possibilities. These features represented phenotypic and behavioural characteristics of the species. Speciation consisted in occasionally replacing one of the features by another. Here we modify this scheme by firstly allowing for a richer structure and secondly by testing whether we are able to eliminate the need for an explicit choice of features altogether. In the first case we allow for changing the number of features which define a species, as well as their nature, and find that in the resulting webs the higher trophic levels typically contain species with the greatest number of features. In the second case, by a simplification of the mechanisms for inter and intra-species competition, we construct a model without any explicit features and find that we are still able to grow model food webs. We assess the quality of the food webs produced and discuss the consequences of our findings for the future modelling of food webs.

  14. Infectious disease agents mediate interaction in food webs and ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Selakovic, Sanja; de Ruiter, Peter C.; Heesterbeek, Hans

    2014-01-01

    Infectious agents are part of food webs and ecosystems via the relationship with their host species that, in turn, interact with both hosts and non-hosts. Through these interactions, infectious agents influence food webs in terms of structure, functioning and stability. The present literature shows a broad range of impacts of infectious agents on food webs, and by cataloguing that range, we worked towards defining the various mechanisms and their specific effects. To explore the impact, a direct approach is to study changes in food-web properties with infectious agents as separate species in the web, acting as additional nodes, with links to their host species. An indirect approach concentrates not on adding new nodes and links, but on the ways that infectious agents affect the existing links across host and non-host nodes, by influencing the ‘quality’ of consumer–resource interaction as it depends on the epidemiological state host involved. Both approaches are natural from an ecological point of view, but the indirect approach may connect more straightforwardly to commonly used tools in infectious disease dynamics. PMID:24403336

  15. Land use alters the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to drought

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Liiri, Mira E.; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Bowker, Matthew A.; Christensen, Søren; Setälä, Heikki; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-01-01

    Soils deliver several ecosystem services including carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling, which are of central importance to climate mitigation and sustainable food production. Soil biota play an important role in carbon and nitrogen cycling, and, although the effects of land use on soil food webs are well documented the consequences for their resistance and resilience to climate change are not known. We compared the resistance and resilience to drought--which is predicted to increase under climate change of soil food webs of two common land-use systems: intensively managed wheat with a bacterial-based soil food web and extensively managed grassland with a fungal-based soil food web. We found that the fungal-based food web, and the processes of C and N loss it governs, of grassland soil was more resistant, although not resilient, and better able to adapt to drought than the bacterial-based food web of wheat soil. Structural equation modelling revealed that fungal-based soil food webs and greater microbial evenness mitigated C and N loss. Our findings show that land use strongly affects the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to climate change, and that extensively managed grassland promotes more resistant, and adaptable, fungal-based soil food webs.

  16. Land use alters the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to drought

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Vries, Franciska T.; Liiri, Mira E.; Bjørnlund, Lisa; Bowker, Matthew A.; Christensen, Søren; Setälä, Heikki M.; Bardgett, Richard D.

    2012-04-01

    Soils deliver several ecosystem services including carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling, which are of central importance to climate mitigation and sustainable food production. Soil biota play an important role in carbon and nitrogen cycling, and, although the effects of land use on soil food webs are well documented, the consequences for their resistance and resilience to climate change are not known. We compared the resistance and resilience to drought--which is predicted to increase under climate change--of soil food webs of two common land-use systems: intensively managed wheat with a bacterial-based soil food web and extensively managed grassland with a fungal-based soil food web. We found that the fungal-based food web, and the processes of C and N loss it governs, of grassland soil was more resistant, although not resilient, and better able to adapt to drought than the bacterial-based food web of wheat soil. Structural equation modelling revealed that fungal-based soil food webs and greater microbial evenness mitigated C and N loss. Our findings show that land use strongly affects the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to climate change, and that extensively managed grassland promotes more resistant, and adaptable, fungal-based soil food webs.

  17. Functional changes due to invasive species: Food web shifts at shallow Posidonia oceanica seagrass beds colonized by the alien macroalga Caulerpa racemosa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deudero, S.; Box, A.; Alós, J.; Arroyo, N. L.; Marbà, N.

    2011-06-01

    Multiple stable isotope analyses were used to examine the trophic shifts at faunal assemblages within the invading macroalga Caulerpa racemosa in comparison to established communities of Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows. Sampling of macrobenthic invertebrates and their potential food sources of algal mats and seagrass meadows in Mallorca (NW Mediterranean) showed differences in species composition of faunal and primary producers among seagrass and C. racemosa. Accordingly, changes in food web structure and trophic guilds were observed, not only at species level but also at community level. The carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures of herbivores, detritivores and deposit feeders confirmed that the seagrass provided a small contribution to the macrofaunal organisms. δ 13C at the P. oceanica seagrass and at the C. racemosa assemblages differed, ranging from -6.19 to -21.20‰ and -2.67 to -31.41‰, respectively. δ 15N at the Caulerpa mats was lower (ranging from 2.64 to 10.45‰) than that at the seagrass meadows (3.51-12. 94‰). Significant differences in isotopic signatures and trophic level among trophic guilds at P. oceanica and C. racemosa were found. N fractionation at trophic guild level considerable differed between seagrass and macroalgae mats, especially for detritivores, deposit feeders, and herbivores. Filter feeders slightly differed with a relatively lower N signal at the seagrass and CR values at community level and at trophic guild level were higher in the C. racemosa invaded habitats indicating an increase in diversity of basal resource pools. C. racemosa did seem to broaden the niche diversity of the P. oceanica meadows it colonised at the base of the food web, may be due to the establishment of a new basal resource. The extent of the effects of invasive species on ecosystem functioning is a fundamental issue in conservation ecology. The observed changes in invertebrate and macrophytic composition, stable isotope signatures of concomitant

  18. A Biomass Flow Approach to Population Models and Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Getz, Wayne M

    2012-02-01

    The dominant differential equation paradigm for modeling the population dynamics of species interacting in the framework of a food web retains at its core the basic prey-predator and competition models formulation by Alfred J. Lotka (1880-1945) and Vito Volterra (1860-1940) nearly nine decades ago. This paradigm lacks a trophic-level-independent formulation of population growth leading to ambiguities in how to treat populations that are simultaneously both prey and predator. Also, this paradigm does not fundamentally include inertial (i.e. change resisting) processes needed to account for the response of populations to fluctuating resource environments. Here I present an approach that corrects both these deficits and provides a unified framework for accounting for biomass transformation in food webs that include both live and dead components of all species in the system. This biomass transformation formulation (BTW) allows for a unified treatment of webs that include consumers of both live and dead material-both carnivores and carcasivores, herbivores and detritivores-and incorporates scavengers, parasites, and other neglected food web consumption categories in a coherent manner. I trace how BTW is an outgrowth of the metaphysiological growth modeling paradigm and I provide a general compact formulation of BTW in terms of a three-variable differential equation formulation for each species in the food web: viz. live biomass, dead biomass, and a food-intake-related measure called deficit-stress. I then illustrate the application of this new paradigm to provide insights into two-species competition in variable environments and discuss application of BTW to food webs that incorporate parasites and pathogens.

  19. A Biomass Flow Approach to Population Models and Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Getz, Wayne M.

    2011-01-01

    The dominant differential equation paradigm for modeling the population dynamics of species interacting in the framework of a food web retains at its core the basic prey-predator and competition models formulation by Alfred J. Lotka (1880–1945) and Vito Volterra (1860–1940) nearly nine decades ago. This paradigm lacks a trophic-level-independent formulation of population growth leading to ambiguities in how to treat populations that are simultaneously both prey and predator. Also, this paradigm does not fundamentally include inertial (i.e. change resisting) processes needed to account for the response of populations to fluctuating resource environments. Here I present an approach that corrects both these deficits and provides a unified framework for accounting for biomass transformation in food webs that include both live and dead components of all species in the system. This biomass transformation formulation (BTW) allows for a unified treatment of webs that include consumers of both live and dead material—both carnivores and carcasivores, herbivores and detritivores—and incorporates scavengers, parasites, and other neglected food web consumption categories in a coherent manner. I trace how BTW is an outgrowth of the metaphysiological growth modeling paradigm and I provide a general compact formulation of BTW in terms of a three-variable differential equation formulation for each species in the food web: viz. live biomass, dead biomass, and a food-intake-related measure called deficit-stress. I then illustrate the application of this new paradigm to provide insights into two-species competition in variable environments and discuss application of BTW to food webs that incorporate parasites and pathogens. PMID:27688596

  20. Interaction strength, food web topology and the relative importance of species in food webs.

    PubMed

    O'Gorman, Eoin J; Jacob, Ute; Jonsson, Tomas; Emmerson, Mark C

    2010-05-01

    1. We established complex marine communities, consisting of over 100 species, in large subtidal experimental mesocosms. We measured the strength of direct interactions and the net strength of direct and indirect interactions between the species in those communities, using a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches. 2. Theoretical predictions of interaction strength were derived from the interaction coefficient matrix, which was parameterised using allometric predator-prey relationships. Empirical estimates of interaction strength were quantified using the ln-ratio, which measures the change in biomass density of species A in the presence and absence of species B. 3. We observed that highly connected species tend to have weak direct effects and net effects in our experimental food webs, whether we calculate interaction strength theoretically or empirically. 4. We found a significant correlation between our theoretical predictions and empirical estimates of direct effects and net effects. The net effects correlation was much stronger, indicating that our experimental communities were dominated by a mixture of direct and indirect effects. 5. Re-calculation of the theoretical predictions of net effects after randomising predator and prey body masses did not affect the negative relationship with connectance. 6. These results suggest that food web topology, which in this system is constrained by body mass, is overwhelmingly important for the magnitude of direct and indirect interactions and hence species importance in the face of biodiversity declines.

  1. Mycoloop: chytrids in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Kagami, Maiko; Miki, Takeshi; Takimoto, Gaku

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are ecologically significant in various ecosystems through their role in shaping food web structure, facilitating energy transfer, and controlling disease. Here in this review, we mainly focus on parasitic chytrids, the dominant parasites in aquatic ecosystems, and explain their roles in aquatic food webs, particularly as prey for zooplankton. Chytrids have a free-living zoosporic stage, during which they actively search for new hosts. Zoospores are excellent food for zooplankton in terms of size, shape, and nutritional quality. In the field, densities of chytrids can be high, ranging from 10(1) to 10(9) spores L(-1). When large inedible phytoplankton species are infected by chytrids, nutrients within host cells are transferred to zooplankton via the zoospores of parasitic chytrids. This new pathway, the "mycoloop," may play an important role in shaping aquatic ecosystems, by altering sinking fluxes or determining system stability. The grazing of zoospores by zooplankton may also suppress outbreaks of parasitic chytrids. A food web model demonstrated that the contribution of the mycoloop to zooplankton production increased with nutrient availability and was also dependent on the stability of the system. Further studies with advanced molecular tools are likely to discover greater chytrid diversity and evidence of additional mycoloops in lakes and oceans.

  2. Effects of extinction on food web structures on an evolutionary time scale.

    PubMed

    Hironaga, Ryo; Yamamura, Norio

    2010-03-21

    Extinction affected food web structure in paleoecosystems. Recent theoretical studies that examined the effects of extinction intensity on food web structure on ecological time scales have considered extinction to involve episodic events, with pre-extinction food webs becoming established without dynamics. However, in terms of the paleontological time scale, food web structures are generated from feedback with repeated extinctions, because extinction frequency is affected by food web structure, and food web structure itself is a product of previous extinctions. We constructed a simulation model of changes in tri-trophic-level food webs to examine how continual extinction events affect food webs on an evolutionary time scale. We showed that under high extinction intensity (1) species diversity, especially that of consumer species, decreased; (2) the total population density at each trophic level decreased, while the densities of individual species increased; and (3) the trophic link density of the food web increased. In contrast to previous models, our results were based on an assumption of long-term food web development and are able to explain overall trends posited by empirical investigations based on fossil records.

  3. Boosted food web productivity through ocean acidification collapses under warming.

    PubMed

    Goldenberg, Silvan U; Nagelkerken, Ivan; Ferreira, Camilo M; Ullah, Hadayet; Connell, Sean D

    2017-10-01

    Future climate is forecast to drive bottom-up (resource driven) and top-down (consumer driven) change to food web dynamics and community structure. Yet, our predictive understanding of these changes is hampered by an over-reliance on simplified laboratory systems centred on single trophic levels. Using a large mesocosm experiment, we reveal how future ocean acidification and warming modify trophic linkages across a three-level food web: that is, primary (algae), secondary (herbivorous invertebrates) and tertiary (predatory fish) producers. Both elevated CO2 and elevated temperature boosted primary production. Under elevated CO2 , the enhanced bottom-up forcing propagated through all trophic levels. Elevated temperature, however, negated the benefits of elevated CO2 by stalling secondary production. This imbalance caused secondary producer populations to decline as elevated temperature drove predators to consume their prey more rapidly in the face of higher metabolic demand. Our findings demonstrate how anthropogenic CO2 can function as a resource that boosts productivity throughout food webs, and how warming can reverse this effect by acting as a stressor to trophic interactions. Understanding the shifting balance between the propagation of resource enrichment and its consumption across trophic levels provides a predictive understanding of future dynamics of stability and collapse in food webs and fisheries production. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Oxalate content of food: a tangled web.

    PubMed

    Attalla, Kyrollis; De, Shubha; Monga, Manoj

    2014-09-01

    To account for variations in dietary oxalate content in resources available to hyperoxaluric patients. Our objective is to examine the heterogeneity of the oxalate content reported across various Web-based sources and smartphone applications. A search of "oxalate content of food" was performed using the Google search engine. Smartphone applications were identified by their ability to assess oxalate content. Oxalate contents were obtained, and common foods were selected for comparison. Food groups were compared to better understand how patients are guided when using these references to manipulate their diet. Thirteen sources were identified, and 8 sources (6 Web sites and 2 applications) were used to construct figures for comparison of commonly listed foods. Oxalate content was extremely variable between various sources. Fruits with the widest observed range of oxalate included oranges (2.07-10.64 mg/100 g) and bananas (0-9.9 mg/100 g). Among vegetables, the oxalate contents of spinach (364.44-1145 mg/100 g), rhubarb (511-983.61 mg/100 g), and beets (36.9-794.12 mg/100 g) were most variable. Among nuts, the oxalate content of peanuts ranged from 64.57 to 348.58 mg/100 g, and pecans ranged from 4.08 to 404.08 mg/100 g. Wide variations exist in the reported oxalate content of foods across several Web-based sources and smartphone applications, several of which are substantial and can have a sizable impact on the construction of a low oxalate diet. As dietary counseling has proven benefits, patients and caregivers should be aware of the heterogeneity that exists in the reported oxalate content of foods. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A.

    2014-01-01

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence—a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce—is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May’s paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation. PMID:25468963

  6. Trophic coherence determines food-web stability.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Samuel; Domínguez-García, Virginia; Donetti, Luca; Muñoz, Miguel A

    2014-12-16

    Why are large, complex ecosystems stable? Both theory and simulations of current models predict the onset of instability with growing size and complexity, so for decades it has been conjectured that ecosystems must have some unidentified structural property exempting them from this outcome. We show that trophic coherence--a hitherto ignored feature of food webs that current structural models fail to reproduce--is a better statistical predictor of linear stability than size or complexity. Furthermore, we prove that a maximally coherent network with constant interaction strengths will always be linearly stable. We also propose a simple model that, by correctly capturing the trophic coherence of food webs, accurately reproduces their stability and other basic structural features. Most remarkably, our model shows that stability can increase with size and complexity. This suggests a key to May's paradox, and a range of opportunities and concerns for biodiversity conservation.

  7. Quantitative approaches to the analysis of stable isotope food web data.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Stephanie N; Olden, Julian D; Solomon, Christopher T; Vander Zanden, M Jake

    2007-11-01

    Ecologists use stable isotopes (delta13C, delta15N) to better understand food webs and explore trophic interactions in ecosystems. Traditionally, delta13C vs. delta15N bi-plots have been used to describe food web structure for a single time period or ecosystem. Comparisons of food webs across time and space are increasing, but development of statistical approaches for testing hypotheses regarding food web change has lagged behind. Here we present statistical methodologies for quantitatively comparing stable isotope food web data. We demonstrate the utility of circular statistics and hypothesis tests for quantifying directional food web differences using two case studies: an arthropod salt marsh community across a habitat gradient and a freshwater fish community from Lake Tahoe, USA, over a 120-year time period. We calculated magnitude and mean angle of change (theta) for each species in food web space using mean delta13C and delta15N of each species as the x, y coordinates. In the coastal salt marsh, arthropod consumers exhibited a significant shift toward dependence on Spartina, progressing from a habitat invaded by Phragmites to a restored Spartina habitat. In Lake Tahoe, we found that all species from the freshwater fish community shifted in the same direction in food web space toward more pelagic-based production with the introduction of nonnative Mysis relicta and onset of cultural eutrophication. Using circular statistics to quantitatively analyze stable isotope food web data, we were able to gain significant insight into patterns and changes in food web structure that were not evident from qualitative comparisons. As more ecologists incorporate a food web perspective into ecosystem analysis, these statistical tools can provide a basis for quantifying directional food web differences from standard isotope data.

  8. Generalized models reveal stabilizing factors in food webs.

    PubMed

    Gross, Thilo; Rudolf, Lars; Levin, Simon A; Dieckmann, Ulf

    2009-08-07

    Insights into what stabilizes natural food webs have always been limited by a fundamental dilemma: Studies either need to make unwarranted simplifying assumptions, which undermines their relevance, or only examine few replicates of small food webs, which hampers the robustness of findings. We used generalized modeling to study several billion replicates of food webs with nonlinear interactions and up to 50 species. In this way, first we show that higher variability in link strengths stabilizes food webs only when webs are relatively small, whereas larger webs are instead destabilized. Second, we reveal a new power law describing how food-web stability scales with the number of species and their connectance. Third, we report two universal rules: Food-web stability is enhanced when (i) species at a high trophic level feed on multiple prey species and (ii) species at an intermediate trophic level are fed upon by multiple predator species.

  9. Changes in food web structure under scenarios of overfishing in the southern Benguela: Comparison of the Ecosim and OSMOSE modelling approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Travers, M.; Watermeyer, K.; Shannon, L. J.; Shin, Y.-J.

    2010-01-01

    Ecosystem models provide a platform allowing exploration into the possible responses of marine food webs to fishing pressure and various potential management decisions. In this study we investigate the particular effects of overfishing on the structure and function of the southern Benguela food web, using two models with different underlying assumptions: the spatialized, size-based individual-based model, OSMOSE, and the trophic mass-balance model, Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE). Starting from the same reference state of the southern Benguela upwelling ecosystem during the 1990s, we compare the response of the food web to scenarios of overfishing using these two modelling approaches. A scenario of increased fishing mortality is applied to two distinct functional groups: i) two species of Cape hake, representing important target predatory fish, and ii) the forage species anchovy, sardine and redeye. In these simulations, fishing mortality on the selected functional groups is doubled for 10 years, followed by 10 years at the initial fishing mortality. We compare the food web states before the increase of fishing mortality, after 10 years of overfishing and after a further 10 years during which fishing was returned to initial levels. In order to compare the simulated food web structures with the reference state, and between the two modelling approaches, we use a set of trophic indicators: the mean trophic level of the community and in catches, the trophic pyramid (biomass per discrete trophic level), and the predatory/forage fish biomass ratio. OSMOSE and EwE present globally similar results for the trophic functioning of the ecosystem under fishing pressure: the biomass of targeted species decreases whereas that of their potential competitors increases. The reaction of distant species is more diverse, depending on the feeding links between the compartments. The mean trophic level of the community does not vary enough to be used for assessing ecosystem impacts of fishing

  10. Global synthesis suggests that food web connectance correlates to invasion resistance.

    PubMed

    Smith-Ramesh, Lauren M; Moore, Alexandria C; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2017-02-01

    Biological invasions are a key component of global change, and understanding the drivers of global invasion patterns will aid in assessing and mitigating the impact of invasive species. While invasive species are most often studied in the context of one or two trophic levels, in reality species invade communities comprised of complex food webs. The complexity and integrity of the native food web may be a more important determinant of invasion success than the strength of interactions between a small subset of species within a larger food web. Previous efforts to understand the relationship between food web properties and species invasions have been primarily theoretical and have yielded mixed results. Here, we present a synthesis of empirical information on food web connectance and species invasion success gathered from different sources (estimates of food web connectance from the primary literature and estimates of invasion success from the Global Invasive Species Database as well as the primary literature). Our results suggest that higher-connectance food webs tend to host fewer invaders and exert stronger biotic resistance compared to low-connectance webs. We argue that while these correlations cannot be used to infer a causal link between food web connectance and habitat invasibility, the promising findings beg for further empirical research that deliberately tests for relationships between food web connectance and invasion.

  11. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J.; De Leo, Giulio A.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Dunne, Jennifer A.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Kuris, Armand M.; Marcogliese, David J.; Martinez, Neo D.; Memmott, Jane; Marquet, Pablo A.; McLaughlin, John P.; Mordecai, Eerin A.; Pascual, Mercedes; Poulin, Robert; Thieltges, David W.

    2008-01-01

    Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists.

  12. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links

    PubMed Central

    Lafferty, Kevin D; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J; De Leo, Giulio; Dobson, Andrew P; Dunne, Jennifer A; Johnson, Pieter T J; Kuris, Armand M; Marcogliese, David J; Martinez, Neo D; Memmott, Jane; Marquet, Pablo A; McLaughlin, John P; Mordecai, Erin A; Pascual, Mercedes; Poulin, Robert; Thieltges, David W

    2008-01-01

    Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists. PMID:18462196

  13. Parasites in food webs: the ultimate missing links.

    PubMed

    Lafferty, Kevin D; Allesina, Stefano; Arim, Matias; Briggs, Cherie J; De Leo, Giulio; Dobson, Andrew P; Dunne, Jennifer A; Johnson, Pieter T J; Kuris, Armand M; Marcogliese, David J; Martinez, Neo D; Memmott, Jane; Marquet, Pablo A; McLaughlin, John P; Mordecai, Erin A; Pascual, Mercedes; Poulin, Robert; Thieltges, David W

    2008-06-01

    Parasitism is the most common consumer strategy among organisms, yet only recently has there been a call for the inclusion of infectious disease agents in food webs. The value of this effort hinges on whether parasites affect food-web properties. Increasing evidence suggests that parasites have the potential to uniquely alter food-web topology in terms of chain length, connectance and robustness. In addition, parasites might affect food-web stability, interaction strength and energy flow. Food-web structure also affects infectious disease dynamics because parasites depend on the ecological networks in which they live. Empirically, incorporating parasites into food webs is straightforward. We may start with existing food webs and add parasites as nodes, or we may try to build food webs around systems for which we already have a good understanding of infectious processes. In the future, perhaps researchers will add parasites while they construct food webs. Less clear is how food-web theory can accommodate parasites. This is a deep and central problem in theoretical biology and applied mathematics. For instance, is representing parasites with complex life cycles as a single node equivalent to representing other species with ontogenetic niche shifts as a single node? Can parasitism fit into fundamental frameworks such as the niche model? Can we integrate infectious disease models into the emerging field of dynamic food-web modelling? Future progress will benefit from interdisciplinary collaborations between ecologists and infectious disease biologists.

  14. Evidence for the persistence of food web structure after amphibian extirpation in a Neotropical stream.

    PubMed

    Barnum, Thomas R; Drake, John M; Colón-Gaud, Checo; Rugenski, Amanda T; Frauendorf, Therese C; Connelly, Scott; Kilham, Susan S; Whiles, Matt R; Lips, Karen R; Pringle, Catherine M

    2015-08-01

    Species losses are predicted to simplify food web structure, and disease-driven amphibian declines in Central America offer an opportunity to test this prediction. Assessment of insect community composition, combined with gut content analyses, was used to generate periphyton-insect food webs for a Panamanian stream, both pre- and post-amphibian decline. We then used network analysis to assess the effects of amphibian declines on food web structure. Although 48% of consumer taxa, including many insect taxa, were lost between pre- and post-amphibian decline sampling dates, connectance declined by less than 3%. We then quantified the resilience of food web structure by calculating the number of expected cascading extirpations from the loss of tadpoles. This analysis showed the expected effects of species loss on connectance and linkage density to be more than 60% and 40%, respectively, than were actually observed. Instead, new trophic linkages in the post-decline food web reorganized the food web topology, changing the identity of "hub" taxa, and consequently reducing the effects of amphibian declines on many food web attributes. Resilience of food web attributes was driven by a combination of changes in consumer diets, particularly those of insect predators, as well as the appearance of generalist insect consumers, suggesting that food web structure is maintained by factors independent of the original trophic linkages.

  15. The trophodynamics of PCBs in the Lake Ontario food web

    SciTech Connect

    Metcalfe, T.L.; Metcalfe, C.D.

    1995-12-31

    Samples of water, sediment, invertebrates, fish, and herring gull eggs were collected in north-central Lake Ontario and were analyzed to determine the concentrations of PCBs, including non-ortho substituted PCB congeners, in the benthic and pelagic components of the Lake Ontario food web. There was biomagnification of PCBs in the food web from benthic and planktonic invertebrates through to lake trout and gulls. However, all of the fish species had about the same lipid-normalized concentrations of PCBs. The relative proportions of the PCB congeners changed as they passed through the food web. An index of metabolism for each PCB congener was calculated by comparing the concentrations of PCB congeners in various predator/prey groupings within the food web. These data indicate that invertebrates, fish and gulls have different capabilities in metabolizing and eliminating specific PCB congeners. While tri and tetrachlorinated congeners with no chlorine substitution at meta-para carbons on the biphenyl ring were readily metabolized by all taxa, only gulls appeared to be capable of metabolizing the PCBs with no chlorine substitution at ortho-meta positions. The trophodynamics of nonortho substituted (coplanar) PCBs did not differ from other PCB congeners of similar chlorine number, which indicates that non-ortho congeners are not any more persistent in biota than other PCBs.

  16. Critical patch sizes for food-web modules.

    PubMed

    Martinson, Holly M; Fagan, William F; Denno, Robert F

    2012-08-01

    Because patch size and connectivity may strongly impact the assemblage of species that occur on a patch, the types of food-web interactions that occur among those species may also depend on spatial structure. Here, we identify whether food-web interactions among salt-marsh-inhabiting arthropods vary with patch size and connectivity, and how such changes in trophic structure might feed back to influence the spatial distribution of prey. In a multiyear survey, patch-restricted predators exhibited steeper occupancy-patch-size relationships than herbivores, and species' critical patch sizes were correlated with overall rarity. As a result, the presence of food-web modules depended strongly on patch size: large and well-connected patches supported complex food-web modules, but only the simplest modules involving the most abundant species were found on small patches. Habitat-generalist spiders dominated on small patches, and predation pressure from such species may contribute to the observed lower densities of mesopredators on small patches. Overall, patch size and connectivity influenced the types of modules present on a patch through differential loss of rare, patch-restricted predators, but predation by generalist predators may be a key mechanism influencing the spatial structure of certain prey species.

  17. Managing Change on the Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Francisco-Revilla, Luis; Shipman, Frank; Furuta, Richard; Karadkar, Unmil; Arora, Avital

    Increasingly, digital libraries are being defined as collection pointers to World Wide Web-based resources rather than collections that hold the resources themselves. Maintaining these collections is challenging due to distributed document ownership and high fluidity. Typically a collection's maintainer has to assess the relevance of changes with…

  18. Food web model with detritus path

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szwabiński, Janusz; Pękalski, Andrzej; Bena, Ioana; Droz, Michel

    2010-07-01

    We present and study a lattice (Monte Carlo) model of a food web consisting of three levels. Agents on the lowest level produce food from dead agents (detritus) of the upper levels and are themselves eaten by the first level species, which in turn are prey for the top level species. Agents which do not find food in a given time, die with a given probability, while eating enables them to produce offspring in their neighborhood. This rule applies to species on all levels, including the lowest one. The dynamics is therefore nutrient limited. We are considering two pathways - grazers and detritus (using dead organic matter). We show that the emerging dynamics is more complex than the ordinary predator-prey systems in which bottom species are indestructible. We investigate the viability of our model and we construct appropriate (extinct-alive) phase diagrams. We demonstrate how the temporal fluctuations in the densities of the three populations are correlated. We show also that the density of the middle level agents plays the key role in the viability of the investigated food web.

  19. Computer simulations of sympatric speciation in a simple food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luz-Burgoa, K.; Dell, Tony; de Oliveira, S. Moss

    2005-07-01

    Galapagos finches, have motivated much theoretical research aimed at understanding the processes associated with the formation of the species. Inspired by them, in this paper we investigate the process of sympatric speciation in a simple food web model. For that we modify the individual-based Penna model that has been widely used to study aging as well as other evolutionary processes. Initially, our web consists of a primary food source and a single herbivore species that feeds on this resource. Subsequently we introduce a predator that feeds on the herbivore. In both instances we manipulate directly a basal resource distribution and monitor the changes in the populations. Sympatric speciation is obtained for the top species in both cases, and our results suggest that the speciation velocity depends on how far up, in the food chain, the focus population is feeding. Simulations are done with three different sexual imprintinglike mechanisms, in order to discuss adaptation by natural selection.

  20. Material exchange and food web of seagrass beds in the Sylt-Rømø Bight: how significant are community changes at the ecosystem level?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asmus, H.; Asmus, R.

    2000-07-01

    subtidal part, the function of the ecosystem as a source for particles increased, supposing that all seagrass beds were lost from the area. During the vegetation period, seagrass beds act as a storage compartment for material accumulated in the living biomass of the community. There was great biodiversity among the plant and animal groups found in intertidal seagrass beds of the Sylt-Rømø Bay, representing 50-86% of the total number of species investigated, depending on the particular group. Since most species are not exclusively seagrass residents, the loss of intertidal seagrass beds would be of minor importance for biodiversity at the ecosystem level. Food web structure in seagrass beds is different from other intertidal communities. Primary production and detritus input is high, but secondary production is similar to that of unvegetated areas, although the relative importance of the trophic guilds is different. The loss of seagrass beds leads to profound alterations in the food web of the total ecosystem. Historical as well as recent changes in material fluxes and energy flow due to man-made alterations to the ecosystem are discussed.

  1. Incorporating food web dynamics into ecological restoration: a modeling approach for river ecosystems

    Treesearch

    J. Ryan Bellmore; Joseph R. Benjamin; Michael Newsom; Jennifer A. Bountry; Daniel Dombroski

    2017-01-01

    Restoration is frequently aimed at the recovery of target species, but also influences the larger food web in which these species participate. Effects of restoration on this broader network of organisms can influence target species both directly and indirectly via changes in energy flow through food webs. To help incorporate these complexities into river restoration...

  2. Exploring Fish Diversity as a Determinant of Ecosystem Properties in Aquatic Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carey, Michael P.

    2009-01-01

    Dramatic biodiversity changes occurring globally from species loss and invasion have altered native food webs and ecosystem processes. My research objectives are to understand the consequences of fish diversity to freshwater systems by (1) examining the food web consequences of multiple top predators, (2) determining how biodiversity influences…

  3. Exploring Fish Diversity as a Determinant of Ecosystem Properties in Aquatic Food Webs

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carey, Michael P.

    2009-01-01

    Dramatic biodiversity changes occurring globally from species loss and invasion have altered native food webs and ecosystem processes. My research objectives are to understand the consequences of fish diversity to freshwater systems by (1) examining the food web consequences of multiple top predators, (2) determining how biodiversity influences…

  4. Food web heterogeneity and succession in created saltmarshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nordstrom, M C; Demopoulos, Amanda W.J.; Whitcraft, CR; Rismondo, A.; McMillan, P.; Gonzales, J P; Levin, L A

    2015-01-01

    1. Ecological restoration must achieve functional as well as structural recovery. Functional metrics for reestablishment of trophic interactions can be used to complement traditional monitoring of structural attributes. In addition, topographic effects on food web structure provide added information within a restoration context; often, created sites may require spatial heterogeneity to effectively match structure and function of natural habitats. 2. We addressed both of these issues in our study of successional development of benthic food web structure, with focus on bottom–up driven changes in macroinvertebrate consumer assemblages in the salt marshes of the Venice Lagoon, Italy. We combined quantified estimates of the changing community composition with stable isotope data (13C:12C and 15N:14N) to compare the general trophic structure between created (2–14 years) marshes and reference sites and along topographic elevation gradients within salt marshes. 3. Macrofaunal invertebrate consumers exhibited local, habitat-specific trophic patterns. Stable isotope-based trophic structure changed with increasing marsh age, in particular with regards to mid-elevation (Salicornia) habitats. In young marshes, the mid-elevation consumer signatures resembled those of unvegetated ponds. The mid elevation of older and natural marshes had a more distinct Salicornia-zone food web, occasionally resembling that of the highest (Sarcocornia-dominated) elevation. In summary, this indicates that primary producers and availability of vascular plant detritus structure consumer trophic interactions and the flow of carbon. 4. Functionally different consumers, subsurface-feeding detritivores (Oligochaeta) and surface grazers (Hydrobia sp.), showed distinct but converging trajectories of isotopic change over time, indicating that successional development may be asymmetric between ‘brown’ (detrital) guilds and ‘green’ (grazing) guilds in the food web. 5. Synthesis and applications

  5. Current trends in food web theory report on a food web workshop. Environmental Sciences Division Publication No. 2224

    SciTech Connect

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Post, W.M.; Sugihara, G.

    1983-10-01

    This report summarizes the Food Web Workshop, held at Fontana Village Inn, October 25-27, 1982. The objective of the workshop was to review and assess recent progress in the understanding of ecological food webs. The workshop focused on three main areas: (1) what has been observed of food web patterns (food chain length, intervality, predator-prey ratios, etc.), (2) processes involved in food chains (energy flow and nutrient cycles), and (3) the dynamic behavior of food webs (Lyapunov stability, resilience, etc.). The introduction reviews some of the important contributions to food web theory during the past decade. The synopses of the presentations by invited speakers address many of the specific themes in current thought on food webs.

  6. Understanding food-web persistence from local to global scales.

    PubMed

    Stouffer, Daniel B; Bascompte, Jordi

    2010-02-01

    Understanding food-web persistence is an important long-term objective of ecology because of its relevance in maintaining biodiversity. To date, many dynamic studies of food-web behaviour--both empirical and theoretical--have focused on smaller sub-webs, called trophic modules, because these modules are more tractable experimentally and analytically than whole food webs. The question remains to what degree studies of trophic modules are relevant to infer the persistence of entire food webs. Four trophic modules have received particular attention in the literature: tri-trophic food chains, omnivory, exploitative competition, and apparent competition. Here, we integrate analysis of these modules' dynamics in isolation with those of whole food webs to directly assess the appropriateness of scaling from modules to food webs. We find that there is not a direct, one-to-one, relationship between the relative persistence of modules in isolation and their effect on persistence of an entire food web. Nevertheless, we observe that those modules which are most commonly found in empirical food webs are those that confer the greatest community persistence. As a consequence, we demonstrate that there may be significant dynamic justifications for empirically-observed food-web structure.

  7. Long-term Changes in del 13C in DOC-based Benthic Food Webs in Arctic Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hershey, A. E.; O'Brien, W. J.; Fortino, K.; Keyse, M. D.; Binkley, E.; Lienesch, P. W.; McDonald, M. E.; Luecke, C.; Whalen, S.

    2005-05-01

    Arctic regions are rapidly warming, resulting in warmer summer lake temperatures and increased slumping of organic soils. In Lake NE-12, del 13C of primarily benthivorous lake trout has declined over eleven years. Two important lake trout prey, the caddisfly Grensia and the snail Lymnaea, also became more 13C-depleted. In Lake E-1, the deposit-feeding chironomid, Stictochironomus, also shifted toward lower del 13C, while filter-feeding Tanytarsini did not. Pelagic zooplankton did not show a trend toward 13C depletion overall, but were less consistent. Recent and concurrent studies have shown that DOC is an important resource for the benthic foodweb. Methanotrophy is part of the DOC-based foodweb. Our recent studies have shown that macrobenthos use some methanotroph production. Methane has very low del 13C, thus incorporation of a small amount of methane-based production has a large effect on del 13C. We suggest that climate-driven changes in the carbon pools available to microbes are resulting in increased importance of methanotrophs in macroinvertebrate diets, contributing to the observed long-term del 13C changes. Increased algal fractionation could also be important, but this mechanism has less support because zooplankton and filter-feeding chironomids did not show the same pattern, and previous studies have shown very limited benthic-pelagic coupling.

  8. Interannual variability in the Northern California Current food web structure: Changes in energy flow pathways and the role of forage fish, euphausiids, and jellyfish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruzicka, James J.; Brodeur, Richard D.; Emmett, Robert L.; Steele, John H.; Zamon, Jeannette E.; Morgan, Cheryl A.; Thomas, Andrew C.; Wainwright, Thomas C.

    2012-09-01

    The Northern California Current (NCC) is a seasonally productive and open ecosystem. It is home to both a diverse endemic community and to seasonally transient species. Productivity and food web structure vary seasonally, interannually, and decadally due to variability in coastal upwelling, climate-scale physical processes, and the migratory species entering the system. The composition of the pelagic community varies between years, including changes to mid-trophic level groups that represent alternate energy-transfer pathways between lower and upper trophic levels (forage fishes, euphausiids, jellyfish). Multiple data sets, including annual spring and summer mesoscale surveys of the zooplankton, pelagic fish, and seabird communities, were used to infer NCC trophic network arrangements and develop end-to-end models for each of the 2003-2007 upwelling seasons. Each model was used to quantify the interannual variability in energy-transfer efficiency from bottom to top trophic levels. When each model was driven under an identical nutrient input rate, substantial differences in the energy available to each functional group were evident. Scenario analyses were used to examine the roles of forage fishes, euphausiids, and jellyfish (small gelatinous zooplankton and large carnivorous jellyfish) as alternate energy transfer pathways. Euphausiids were the more important energy transfer pathway; a large proportion of the lower trophic production consumed was transferred to higher trophic levels. In contrast, jellyfish acted as a production loss pathway; little of the production consumed was passed upwards. Analysis of the range of ecosystem states observed interannually and understanding system sensitivity to variability among key trophic groups improves our ability to predict NCC ecosystem response to short- and long-term environmental change.

  9. Native and nonnative fish populations of the Colorado River are food limited--evidence from new food web analyses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennedy, Theodore A.; Cross, Wyatt F.; Hall, Robert O.; Baxter, Colden V.; Rosi-Marshall, Emma J.

    2013-01-01

    Fish populations in the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam appear to be limited by the availability of high-quality invertebrate prey. Midge and blackfly production is low and nonnative rainbow trout in Glen Canyon and native fishes in Grand Canyon consume virtually all of the midge and blackfly biomass that is produced annually. In Glen Canyon, the invertebrate assemblage is dominated by nonnative New Zealand mudsnails, the food web has a simple structure, and transfers of energy from the base of the web (algae) to the top of the web (rainbow trout) are inefficient. The food webs in Grand Canyon are more complex relative to Glen Canyon, because, on average, each species in the web is involved in more interactions and feeding connections. Based on theory and on studies from other ecosystems, the structure and organization of Grand Canyon food webs should make them more stable and less susceptible to large changes following perturbations of the flow regime relative to food webs in Glen Canyon. In support of this hypothesis, Grand Canyon food webs were much less affected by a 2008 controlled flood relative to the food web in Glen Canyon.

  10. Simulation approach to understanding the processes that structure food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Jager, H.I.; Gardner, R.H.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Post, W.M.

    1984-08-01

    A simulation model of food web dynamics, WEB, was constructed and used in Monte Carlo experiments to study the relationship between structure and function in food webs. Four main experiments were designed using WEB. The first tested the robustness of food web structures at equilibrium to variations in the functional response of predators in the food web to the densities of their prey. The second experiment clarified the roles of predation and resource limitation in the process of structuring food webs. A third experiment studied the influence of productivity on food web structure and function using simulated food webs. The final experiment was designed to study the differential successes of generalists and specialists. The main advantage gained by using a simulation approach in each of these experiments was the ability to assess the roles played by processes of predation and competition in structuring model food webs. This was accomplished by interpreting the order of extinction events that occurred in the simulations and relating these to the species configurations at equilibrium. 61 references, 23 figures.

  11. Spatial complexity enhances predictability in food webs

    PubMed Central

    Mougi, Akihiko

    2017-01-01

    The prediction of an ecosystem’s response to an environmental disturbance or the artificial control of ecosystems is a challenging task in ecology. Ecological theory predicts that disturbances frequently result in unexpected responses between interacting species due to the many indirect interactions within a complex community. However, such indeterminacy appears to be unusual in nature. Here using a meta-community food web, I show that spatiality is key to resolving this disparity. A moderate level of spatial coupling strength between habitats due to species migration increases the possibility of expected responses to press perturbation or predictability. Moreover, predictability increases with increasing spatial complexity, as measured by the number of local food webs and their connectivity. A meta-community network can attenuate the propagation of disturbances through indirect pathways due to species emigration to other habitats, thereby preserving the expected effect on the interacting species. These results suggest that the isolation of communities due to habitat destruction decreases the predictability of communities, thereby complicating the control of ecosystems. PMID:28240306

  12. Benchmarking successional progress in a quantitative food web.

    PubMed

    Boit, Alice; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    Central to ecology and ecosystem management, succession theory aims to mechanistically explain and predict the assembly and development of ecological communities. Yet processes at lower hierarchical levels, e.g. at the species and functional group level, are rarely mechanistically linked to the under-investigated system-level processes which drive changes in ecosystem properties and functioning and are comparable across ecosystems. As a model system for secondary succession, seasonal plankton succession during the growing season is readily observable and largely driven autogenically. We used a long-term dataset from large, deep Lake Constance comprising biomasses, auto- and heterotrophic production, food quality, functional diversity, and mass-balanced food webs of the energy and nutrient flows between functional guilds of plankton and partly fish. Extracting population- and system-level indices from this dataset, we tested current hypotheses about the directionality of successional progress which are rooted in ecosystem theory, the metabolic theory of ecology, quantitative food web theory, thermodynamics, and information theory. Our results indicate that successional progress in Lake Constance is quantifiable, passing through predictable stages. Mean body mass, functional diversity, predator-prey weight ratios, trophic positions, system residence times of carbon and nutrients, and the complexity of the energy flow patterns increased during succession. In contrast, both the mass-specific metabolic activity and the system export decreased, while the succession rate exhibited a bimodal pattern. The weighted connectance introduced here represents a suitable index for assessing the evenness and interconnectedness of energy flows during succession. Diverging from earlier predictions, ascendency and eco-exergy did not increase during succession. Linking aspects of functional diversity to metabolic theory and food web complexity, we reconcile previously disjoint bodies of

  13. Benchmarking Successional Progress in a Quantitative Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Boit, Alice; Gaedke, Ursula

    2014-01-01

    Central to ecology and ecosystem management, succession theory aims to mechanistically explain and predict the assembly and development of ecological communities. Yet processes at lower hierarchical levels, e.g. at the species and functional group level, are rarely mechanistically linked to the under-investigated system-level processes which drive changes in ecosystem properties and functioning and are comparable across ecosystems. As a model system for secondary succession, seasonal plankton succession during the growing season is readily observable and largely driven autogenically. We used a long-term dataset from large, deep Lake Constance comprising biomasses, auto- and heterotrophic production, food quality, functional diversity, and mass-balanced food webs of the energy and nutrient flows between functional guilds of plankton and partly fish. Extracting population- and system-level indices from this dataset, we tested current hypotheses about the directionality of successional progress which are rooted in ecosystem theory, the metabolic theory of ecology, quantitative food web theory, thermodynamics, and information theory. Our results indicate that successional progress in Lake Constance is quantifiable, passing through predictable stages. Mean body mass, functional diversity, predator-prey weight ratios, trophic positions, system residence times of carbon and nutrients, and the complexity of the energy flow patterns increased during succession. In contrast, both the mass-specific metabolic activity and the system export decreased, while the succession rate exhibited a bimodal pattern. The weighted connectance introduced here represents a suitable index for assessing the evenness and interconnectedness of energy flows during succession. Diverging from earlier predictions, ascendency and eco-exergy did not increase during succession. Linking aspects of functional diversity to metabolic theory and food web complexity, we reconcile previously disjoint bodies of

  14. Metacommunity theory explains the emergence of food web complexity.

    PubMed

    Pillai, Pradeep; Gonzalez, Andrew; Loreau, Michel

    2011-11-29

    Food webs are highly complex ecological networks, dynamic in both space and time. Metacommunity models are now at the core of unified theories of biodiversity, but to date they have not addressed food web complexity. Here we show that metacommunity theory can explain the emergence of species-rich food webs with complex network topologies. Our analysis shows that network branching in the food web is maximized at intermediate colonization rates and limited dispersal scales, which also leads to concomitant peaks in species diversity. Increased food web complexity and species diversity are made possible by the structural role played by network branches that are supported by omnivore and generalist feeding links. Thus, in contrast to traditional food web theory, which emphasizes the destabilizing effect of omnivory feeding in closed systems, metacommunity theory predicts that these feeding links, which are commonly observed in empirical food webs, play a critical structural role as food webs assemble in space. As this mechanism functions at the metacommunity level, evidence for its operation in nature will be obtained through multiscale surveys of food web structure. Finally, we apply our theory to reveal the effects of habitat destruction on network complexity and metacommunity diversity.

  15. Metacommunity theory explains the emergence of food web complexity

    PubMed Central

    Pillai, Pradeep; Gonzalez, Andrew; Loreau, Michel

    2011-01-01

    Food webs are highly complex ecological networks, dynamic in both space and time. Metacommunity models are now at the core of unified theories of biodiversity, but to date they have not addressed food web complexity. Here we show that metacommunity theory can explain the emergence of species-rich food webs with complex network topologies. Our analysis shows that network branching in the food web is maximized at intermediate colonization rates and limited dispersal scales, which also leads to concomitant peaks in species diversity. Increased food web complexity and species diversity are made possible by the structural role played by network branches that are supported by omnivore and generalist feeding links. Thus, in contrast to traditional food web theory, which emphasizes the destabilizing effect of omnivory feeding in closed systems, metacommunity theory predicts that these feeding links, which are commonly observed in empirical food webs, play a critical structural role as food webs assemble in space. As this mechanism functions at the metacommunity level, evidence for its operation in nature will be obtained through multiscale surveys of food web structure. Finally, we apply our theory to reveal the effects of habitat destruction on network complexity and metacommunity diversity. PMID:22084089

  16. Trophic positioning of meiofauna revealed by stable isotopes and food web analyses.

    PubMed

    Schmid-Araya, Jenny M; Schmid, Peter E; Tod, Steven P; Esteban, Genoveva F

    2016-11-01

    Despite important advances in the ecology of river food webs, the strength and nature of the connection between the meio- and macrofaunal components of the web are still debated. Some unresolved issues are the effects of the inclusion of meiofaunal links and their temporal variations on the overall river food web properties, and the significance of autochthonous and allochthonous material for these components. In the present study, we conducted analyses of gut content of macro- and meiofauna and stable isotope analyses of meiofauna to examine seasonal food webs of a chalk stream. The results of the gut content analyses, confirmed by the δ(13) C signatures, revealed a seasonal shift from a dependence on autochthonous (biofilm) to allochthonous food sources. Here, we demonstrate that aggregating basal or meiofaunal species into single categories affects key web properties such as web size, links, linkage density, and predator-prey ratios. More importantly, seasonal variation in attributes characterized the entire web and these changes persist regardless of taxonomic resolution. Furthermore, our analyses evidenced discrete variations in δ(15) N across the meiofauna community with a trophic structure that confirms gut content analyses, placing the meiofauna high in the food web. We, therefore, conclude that small-body-sized taxa can occur high in dynamic river food webs, questioning assumptions that trophic position increases with body size and that webs are static.

  17. The importance of nature's invisible fabric: food web structure mediates modeled responses to river restoration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bellmore, R.; Benjamin, J.; Newsom, M.; Bountry, J.; Dombroski, D.

    2016-12-01

    Restoration is frequently aimed at the recovery of target species, but also influences the larger food web in which these species participate. Effects of restoration on this broader network of organisms can influence target species both directly and indirectly via changes in energy flow through food webs. To help incorporate these complexities into river restoration planning we constructed a food web model that links river food web dynamics to in-stream physical habitat and riparian vegetation conditions. We present an application of this model to the Methow River, Washington (USA), a location of on-going restoration aimed at recovering salmon. Three restoration strategies were simulated: riparian vegetation restoration, nutrient augmentation via salmon carcass addition, and floodplain reconnection. To explore how food web structure mediates responses to these actions, we modified the food web by adding populations of invasive aquatic snails and nonnative fish. Simulations suggest that floodplain reconnection may be a better strategy than carcass addition and vegetation planting for improving conditions for salmon in this river segment. However, modeled responses were strongly sensitive to changes in the structure of the food web. The addition of invasive snails and nonnative fishes modified pathways of energy through the food web, which negated restoration improvements. This finding illustrates that forecasting responses to restoration may require accounting for the structure of food webs, and that changes in this structure—as might be expected with the spread of invasive species—could compromise restoration outcomes. By elucidating the direct and indirect pathways by which restoration affects target species, dynamic food web models can improve restoration planning by fostering a deeper understanding of system connectedness and dynamics.

  18. Characteristics of food industry web sites and "advergames" targeting children.

    PubMed

    Culp, Jennifer; Bell, Robert A; Cassady, Diana

    2010-01-01

    To assess the content of food industry Web sites targeting children by describing strategies used to prolong their visits and foster brand loyalty; and to document health-promoting messages on these Web sites. A content analysis was conducted of Web sites advertised on 2 children's networks, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A total of 290 Web pages and 247 unique games on 19 Internet sites were examined. Games, found on 81% of Web sites, were the most predominant promotion strategy used. All games had at least 1 brand identifier, with logos being most frequently used. On average Web sites contained 1 "healthful" message for every 45 exposures to brand identifiers. Food companies use Web sites to extend their television advertising to promote brand loyalty among children. These sites almost exclusively promoted food items high in sugar and fat. Health professionals need to monitor food industry marketing practices used in "new media." Published by Elsevier Inc.

  19. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Gilarranz, Luis J; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-02-12

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation.

  20. Anthropogenic effects are associated with a lower persistence of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gilarranz, Luis J.; Mora, Camilo; Bascompte, Jordi

    2016-01-01

    Marine coastal ecosystems are among the most exposed to global environmental change, with reported effects on species biomass, species richness and length of trophic chains. By combining a biologically informed food-web model with information on anthropogenic influences in 701 sites across the Caribbean region, we show that fishing effort, human density and thermal stress anomaly are associated with a decrease in local food-web persistence. The conservation status of the site, in turn, is associated with an increase in food-web persistence. Some of these associations are explained through effects on food-web structure and total community biomass. Our results unveil a hidden footprint of human activities. Even when food webs may seem healthy in terms of the presence and abundance of their constituent species, they may be losing the capacity to withstand further environmental degradation. PMID:26867790

  1. Food and beverage advertising on children's web sites.

    PubMed

    Ustjanauskas, A E; Harris, J L; Schwartz, M B

    2014-10-01

    Food marketing contributes to childhood obesity. Food companies commonly place display advertising on children's web sites, but few studies have investigated this form of advertising. Document the number of food and beverage display advertisements viewed on popular children's web sites, nutritional quality of advertised brands and proportion of advertising approved by food companies as healthier dietary choices for child-directed advertising. Syndicated Internet exposure data identified popular children's web sites and food advertisements viewed on these web sites from July 2009 through June 2010. Advertisements were classified according to food category and companies' participation in food industry self-regulation. The percent of advertisements meeting government-proposed nutrition standards was calculated. 3.4 billion food advertisements appeared on popular children's web sites; 83% on just four web sites. Breakfast cereals and fast food were advertised most often (64% of ads). Most ads (74%) promoted brands approved by companies for child-directed advertising, but 84% advertised products that were high in fat, sugar and/or sodium. Ads for foods designated by companies as healthier dietary choices appropriate for child-directed advertising were least likely to meet independent nutrition standards. Most foods advertised on popular children's web sites do not meet independent nutrition standards. Further improvements to industry self-regulation are required. © 2013 The Authors. Pediatric Obesity © 2013 International Association for the Study of Obesity.

  2. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs.

    PubMed

    Naiman, Robert J; Alldredge, J Richard; Beauchamp, David A; Bisson, Peter A; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N; Pearcy, William G; Rieman, Bruce E; Ruggerone, Gregory T; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E; Wood, Chris C

    2012-12-26

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure--without explicitly considering food webs--has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management.

  3. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Hussey, Nigel E; Macneil, M Aaron; McMeans, Bailey C; Olin, Jill A; Dudley, Sheldon F J; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Fennessy, Sean T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2014-02-01

    Measures of trophic position (TP) are critical for understanding food web interactions and human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ(15) N) provide a powerful tool to estimate TP but are limited by a pragmatic assumption that isotope discrimination is constant (change in δ(15) N between predator and prey, Δ(15) N = 3.4‰), resulting in an additive framework that omits known Δ(15) N variation. Through meta-analysis, we determine narrowing discrimination from an empirical linear relationship between experimental Δ(15) N and δ(15) N values of prey consumed. The resulting scaled Δ(15) N framework estimated reliable TPs of zooplanktivores to tertiary piscivores congruent with known feeding relationships that radically alters the conventional structure of marine food webs. Apex predator TP estimates were markedly higher than currently assumed by whole-ecosystem models, indicating perceived food webs have been truncated and species-interactions over simplified. The scaled Δ(15) N framework will greatly improve the accuracy of trophic estimates widely used in ecosystem-based management. © 2013 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and CNRS.

  4. Temperature alters food web body-size structure.

    PubMed

    Gibert, Jean P; DeLong, John P

    2014-08-01

    The increased temperature associated with climate change may have important effects on body size and predator-prey interactions. The consequences of these effects for food web structure are unclear because the relationships between temperature and aspects of food web structure such as predator-prey body-size relationships are unknown. Here, we use the largest reported dataset for marine predator-prey interactions to assess how temperature affects predator-prey body-size relationships among different habitats ranging from the tropics to the poles. We found that prey size selection depends on predator body size, temperature and the interaction between the two. Our results indicate that (i) predator-prey body-size ratios decrease with predator size at below-average temperatures and increase with predator size at above-average temperatures, and (ii) that the effect of temperature on predator-prey body-size structure will be stronger at small and large body sizes and relatively weak at intermediate sizes. This systematic interaction may help to simplify forecasting the potentially complex consequences of warming on interaction strengths and food web stability.

  5. Rescaling the trophic structure of marine food webs

    PubMed Central

    Hussey, Nigel E; MacNeil, M Aaron; McMeans, Bailey C; Olin, Jill A; Dudley, Sheldon FJ; Cliff, Geremy; Wintner, Sabine P; Fennessy, Sean T; Fisk, Aaron T

    2014-01-01

    Measures of trophic position (TP) are critical for understanding food web interactions and human-mediated ecosystem disturbance. Nitrogen stable isotopes (δ15N) provide a powerful tool to estimate TP but are limited by a pragmatic assumption that isotope discrimination is constant (change in δ15N between predator and prey, Δ15N = 3.4‰), resulting in an additive framework that omits known Δ15N variation. Through meta-analysis, we determine narrowing discrimination from an empirical linear relationship between experimental Δ15N and δ15N values of prey consumed. The resulting scaled Δ15N framework estimated reliable TPs of zooplanktivores to tertiary piscivores congruent with known feeding relationships that radically alters the conventional structure of marine food webs. Apex predator TP estimates were markedly higher than currently assumed by whole-ecosystem models, indicating perceived food webs have been truncated and species-interactions over simplified. The scaled Δ15N framework will greatly improve the accuracy of trophic estimates widely used in ecosystem-based management. PMID:24308860

  6. Characteristics of Food Industry Web Sites and "Advergames" Targeting Children

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Culp, Jennifer; Bell, Robert A.; Cassady, Diana

    2010-01-01

    Objective: To assess the content of food industry Web sites targeting children by describing strategies used to prolong their visits and foster brand loyalty; and to document health-promoting messages on these Web sites. Design: A content analysis was conducted of Web sites advertised on 2 children's networks, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A…

  7. Characteristics of Food Industry Web Sites and "Advergames" Targeting Children

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Culp, Jennifer; Bell, Robert A.; Cassady, Diana

    2010-01-01

    Objective: To assess the content of food industry Web sites targeting children by describing strategies used to prolong their visits and foster brand loyalty; and to document health-promoting messages on these Web sites. Design: A content analysis was conducted of Web sites advertised on 2 children's networks, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. A…

  8. Incorporating food web dynamics into ecological restoration: A modeling approach for river ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bellmore, J. Ryan; Benjamin, Joseph R.; Newsom, Michael; Bountry, Jennifer A.; Dombroski, Daniel

    2017-01-01

    Restoration is frequently aimed at the recovery of target species, but also influences the larger food web in which these species participate. Effects of restoration on this broader network of organisms can influence target species both directly and indirectly via changes in energy flow through food webs. To help incorporate these complexities into river restoration planning we constructed a model that links river food web dynamics to in-stream physical habitat and riparian vegetation conditions. We present an application of the model to the Methow River, Washington (USA), a location of on-going restoration aimed at recovering salmon. Three restoration strategies were simulated: riparian vegetation restoration, nutrient augmentation via salmon carcass addition, and side-channel reconnection. We also added populations of nonnative aquatic snails and fish to the modeled food web to explore how changes in food web structure mediate responses to restoration. Simulations suggest that side-channel reconnection may be a better strategy than carcass addition and vegetation planting for improving conditions for salmon in this river segment. However, modeled responses were strongly sensitive to changes in the structure of the food web. The addition of nonnative snails and fish modified pathways of energy through the food web, which negated restoration improvements. This finding illustrates that forecasting responses to restoration may require accounting for the structure of food webs, and that changes in this structure—as might be expected with the spread of invasive species—could compromise restoration outcomes. Unlike habitat-based approaches to restoration assessment that focus on the direct effects of physical habitat conditions on single species of interest, our approach dynamically links the success of target organisms to the success of competitors, predators, and prey. By elucidating the direct and indirect pathways by which restoration affects target species

  9. Incorporating food web dynamics into ecological restoration: a modeling approach for river ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bellmore, J Ryan; Benjamin, Joseph R; Newsom, Michael; Bountry, Jennifer A; Dombroski, Daniel

    2017-04-01

    Restoration is frequently aimed at the recovery of target species, but also influences the larger food web in which these species participate. Effects of restoration on this broader network of organisms can influence target species both directly and indirectly via changes in energy flow through food webs. To help incorporate these complexities into river restoration planning, we constructed a model that links river food web dynamics to in-stream physical habitat and riparian vegetation conditions. We present an application of the model to the Methow River, Washington, USA, a location of on-going restoration aimed at recovering salmon. Three restoration strategies were simulated: riparian vegetation restoration, nutrient augmentation via salmon carcass addition, and side channel reconnection. We also added populations of nonnative aquatic snails and fish to the modeled food web to explore how changes in food web structure mediate responses to restoration. Simulations suggest that side channel reconnection may be a better strategy than carcass addition and vegetation planting for improving conditions for salmon in this river segment. However, modeled responses were strongly sensitive to changes in the structure of the food web. The addition of nonnative snails and fish modified pathways of energy through the food web, which negated restoration improvements. This finding illustrates that forecasting responses to restoration may require accounting for the structure of food webs, and that changes in this structure, as might be expected with the spread of invasive species, could compromise restoration outcomes. Unlike habitat-based approaches to restoration assessment that focus on the direct effects of physical habitat conditions on single species of interest, our approach dynamically links the success of target organisms to the success of competitors, predators, and prey. By elucidating the direct and indirect pathways by which restoration affects target species

  10. A "Bottom-Up" Approach to Food Web Construction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demetriou, Dorita; Korfiatis, Konstantinos; Constantinou, Constantinos

    2009-01-01

    The ability to comprehend trophic (nutritional) relationships and food web dynamics is an essential part of environmental literacy. However, students face severe difficulties in grasping the variety of causal patterns in food webs. We propose a curriculum for comprehending trophic relations in elementary school. The curriculum allows students to…

  11. A "Bottom-Up" Approach to Food Web Construction

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Demetriou, Dorita; Korfiatis, Konstantinos; Constantinou, Constantinos

    2009-01-01

    The ability to comprehend trophic (nutritional) relationships and food web dynamics is an essential part of environmental literacy. However, students face severe difficulties in grasping the variety of causal patterns in food webs. We propose a curriculum for comprehending trophic relations in elementary school. The curriculum allows students to…

  12. Host Centrality in Food Web Networks Determines Parasite Diversity

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, Tavis K.; Sukhdeo, Michael V. K.

    2011-01-01

    Background Parasites significantly alter topological metrics describing food web structure, yet few studies have explored the relationship between food web topology and parasite diversity. Methods/Principal Findings This study uses quantitative metrics describing network structure to investigate the relationship between the topology of the host food web and parasite diversity. Food webs were constructed for four restored brackish marshes that vary in species diversity, time post restoration and levels of parasitism. Our results show that the topology of the food web in each brackish marsh is highly nested, with clusters of generalists forming a distinct modular structure. The most consistent predictors of parasite diversity within a host were: trophic generality, and eigenvector centrality. These metrics indicate that parasites preferentially colonise host species that are highly connected, and within modules of tightly interacting species in the food web network. Conclusions/Significance These results suggest that highly connected free-living species within the food web may represent stable trophic relationships that allow for the persistence of complex parasite life cycles. Our data demonstrate that the structure of host food webs can have a significant effect on the establishment of parasites, and on the potential for evolution of complex parasite life cycles. PMID:22046360

  13. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs

    PubMed Central

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-01-01

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which ‘larger' species consume ‘smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation. PMID:26198207

  14. Predicting the stability of large structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Allesina, Stefano; Grilli, Jacopo; Barabás, György; Tang, Si; Aljadeff, Johnatan; Maritan, Amos

    2015-07-22

    The stability of ecological systems has been a long-standing focus of ecology. Recently, tools from random matrix theory have identified the main drivers of stability in ecological communities whose network structure is random. However, empirical food webs differ greatly from random graphs. For example, their degree distribution is broader, they contain few trophic cycles, and they are almost interval. Here we derive an approximation for the stability of food webs whose structure is generated by the cascade model, in which 'larger' species consume 'smaller' ones. We predict the stability of these food webs with great accuracy, and our approximation also works well for food webs whose structure is determined empirically or by the niche model. We find that intervality and broad degree distributions tend to stabilize food webs, and that average interaction strength has little influence on stability, compared with the effect of variance and correlation.

  15. Allometric degree distributions facilitate food-web stability.

    PubMed

    Otto, Sonja B; Rall, Björn C; Brose, Ulrich

    2007-12-20

    In natural ecosystems, species are linked by feeding interactions that determine energy fluxes and create complex food webs. The stability of these food webs enables many species to coexist and to form diverse ecosystems. Recent theory finds predator-prey body-mass ratios to be critically important for food-web stability. However, the mechanisms responsible for this stability are unclear. Here we use a bioenergetic consumer-resource model to explore how and why only particular predator-prey body-mass ratios promote stability in tri-trophic (three-species) food chains. We find that this 'persistence domain' of ratios is constrained by bottom-up energy availability when predators are much smaller than their prey and by enrichment-driven dynamics when predators are much larger. We also find that 97% of the tri-trophic food chains across five natural food webs exhibit body-mass ratios within the predicted persistence domain. Further analyses of randomly rewired food webs show that body mass and allometric degree distributions in natural food webs mediate this consistency. The allometric degree distributions hold that the diversity of species' predators and prey decreases and increases, respectively, with increasing species' body masses. Our results demonstrate how simple relationships between species' body masses and feeding interactions may promote the stability of complex food webs.

  16. Soil fertility shapes belowground food webs across a regional climate gradient.

    PubMed

    Laliberté, Etienne; Kardol, Paul; Didham, Raphael K; Teste, François P; Turner, Benjamin L; Wardle, David A

    2017-10-01

    Changes in soil fertility during pedogenesis affect the quantity and quality of resources entering the belowground subsystem. Climate governs pedogenesis, yet how climate modulates responses of soil food webs to soil ageing remains unexplored because of the paucity of appropriate model systems. We characterised soil food webs along each of four retrogressive soil chronosequences situated across a strong regional climate gradient to show that belowground communities are predominantly shaped by changes in fertility rather than climate. Basal consumers showed hump-shaped responses to soil ageing, which were propagated to higher-order consumers. There was a shift in dominance from bacterial to fungal energy channels with increasing soil age, while the root energy channel was most important in intermediate-aged soils. Our study highlights the overarching importance of soil fertility in regulating soil food webs, and indicates that belowground food webs will respond more strongly to shifts in soil resources than climate change. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  17. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    PubMed Central

    Naiman, Robert J.; Alldredge, J. Richard; Beauchamp, David A.; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J.; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N.; Pearcy, William G.; Rieman, Bruce E.; Ruggerone, Gregory T.; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E.; Wood, Chris C.

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure—without explicitly considering food webs—has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management. PMID:23197837

  18. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Naiman, Robert J.; Alldredge, Richard; Beauchamp, David A.; Bisson, Peter A.; Congleton, James; Henny, Charles J.; Huntly, Nancy; Lamberson, Roland; Levings, Colin; Merrill, Erik N.; Pearcy, William G.; Rieman, Bruce E.; Ruggerone, Gregory T.; Scarnecchia, Dennis; Smouse, Peter E.; Wood, Chris C.

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure—without explicitly considering food webs—has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on ecologically effective restoration. We identify three priority food web-related issues that potentially impede successful river restoration: uncertainty about habitat carrying capacity, proliferation of chemicals and contaminants, and emergence of hybrid food webs containing a mixture of native and invasive species. Additionally, there is the need to place these food web considerations in a broad temporal and spatial framework by understanding the consequences of altered nutrient, organic matter (energy), water, and thermal sources and flows, reconnecting critical habitats and their food webs, and restoring for changing environments. As an illustration, we discuss how the Columbia River Basin, site of one of the largest aquatic/riparian restoration programs in the United States, would benefit from implementing a food web perspective. A food web perspective for the Columbia River would complement ongoing approaches and enhance the ability to meet the vision and legal obligations of the US Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act (Fish and Wildlife Program), and federal treaties with Northwest Indian Tribes while meeting fundamental needs for improved river management.

  19. Effects of spatial scale of sampling on food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Spencer A; Russell, Roly; Hanson, Dieta; Williams, Richard J; Dunne, Jennifer A

    2015-01-01

    This study asks whether the spatial scale of sampling alters structural properties of food webs and whether any differences are attributable to changes in species richness and connectance with scale. Understanding how different aspects of sampling effort affect ecological network structure is important for both fundamental ecological knowledge and the application of network analysis in conservation and management. Using a highly resolved food web for the marine intertidal ecosystem of the Sanak Archipelago in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, we assess how commonly studied properties of network structure differ for 281 versions of the food web sampled at five levels of spatial scale representing six orders of magnitude in area spread across the archipelago. Species (S) and link (L) richness both increased by approximately one order of magnitude across the five spatial scales. Links per species (L/S) more than doubled, while connectance (C) decreased by approximately two-thirds. Fourteen commonly studied properties of network structure varied systematically with spatial scale of sampling, some increasing and others decreasing. While ecological network properties varied systematically with sampling extent, analyses using the niche model and a power-law scaling relationship indicate that for many properties, this apparent sensitivity is attributable to the increasing S and decreasing C of webs with increasing spatial scale. As long as effects of S and C are accounted for, areal sampling bias does not have a special impact on our understanding of many aspects of network structure. However, attention does need be paid to some properties such as the fraction of species in loops, which increases more than expected with greater spatial scales of sampling. PMID:26380704

  20. Food web structure in a harsh glacier-fed river.

    PubMed

    Clitherow, Leonie R; Carrivick, Jonathan L; Brown, Lee E

    2013-01-01

    Glacier retreat is occurring across the world, and associated river ecosystems are expected to respond more rapidly than those in flowing waters in other regions. The river environment directly downstream of a glacier snout is characterised by extreme low water temperature and unstable channel sediments but these habitats may become rarer with widespread glacier retreat. In these extreme environments food web dynamics have been little studied, yet they could offer opportunities to test food web theories using highly resolved food webs owing to their low taxonomic richness. This study examined the interactions of macroinvertebrate and diatom taxa in the Ödenwinkelkees river, Austrian central Alps between 2006 and 2011. The webs were characterised by low taxon richness (13-22), highly connected individuals (directed connectance up to 0.19) and short mean food chain length (2.00-2.36). The dominant macroinvertebrates were members of the Chironomidae genus Diamesa and had an omnivorous diet rich in detritus and diatoms as well as other Chironomidae. Simuliidae (typically detritivorous filterers) had a diet rich in diatoms but also showed evidence of predation on Chironomidae larvae. Food webs showed strong species-averaged and individual size structuring but mass-abundance scaling coefficients were larger than those predicted by metabolic theory, perhaps due to a combination of spatial averaging effects of patchily distributed consumers and resources, and/or consumers deriving unquantified resources from microorganisms attached to the large amounts of ingested rock fragments. Comparison of food web structural metrics with those from 62 published river webs suggest these glacier-fed river food web properties were extreme but in line with general food web scaling predictions, a finding which could prove useful to forecast the effects of anticipated future glacier retreat on the structure of aquatic food webs.

  1. Food Web Structure in a Harsh Glacier-Fed River

    PubMed Central

    Clitherow, Leonie R.; Carrivick, Jonathan L.; Brown, Lee E.

    2013-01-01

    Glacier retreat is occurring across the world, and associated river ecosystems are expected to respond more rapidly than those in flowing waters in other regions. The river environment directly downstream of a glacier snout is characterised by extreme low water temperature and unstable channel sediments but these habitats may become rarer with widespread glacier retreat. In these extreme environments food web dynamics have been little studied, yet they could offer opportunities to test food web theories using highly resolved food webs owing to their low taxonomic richness. This study examined the interactions of macroinvertebrate and diatom taxa in the Ödenwinkelkees river, Austrian central Alps between 2006 and 2011. The webs were characterised by low taxon richness (13–22), highly connected individuals (directed connectance up to 0.19) and short mean food chain length (2.00–2.36). The dominant macroinvertebrates were members of the Chironomidae genus Diamesa and had an omnivorous diet rich in detritus and diatoms as well as other Chironomidae. Simuliidae (typically detritivorous filterers) had a diet rich in diatoms but also showed evidence of predation on Chironomidae larvae. Food webs showed strong species-averaged and individual size structuring but mass-abundance scaling coefficients were larger than those predicted by metabolic theory, perhaps due to a combination of spatial averaging effects of patchily distributed consumers and resources, and/or consumers deriving unquantified resources from microorganisms attached to the large amounts of ingested rock fragments. Comparison of food web structural metrics with those from 62 published river webs suggest these glacier-fed river food web properties were extreme but in line with general food web scaling predictions, a finding which could prove useful to forecast the effects of anticipated future glacier retreat on the structure of aquatic food webs. PMID:23613751

  2. Invasions and Extinctions Reshape Coastal Marine Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Byrnes, Jarrett E.; Reynolds, Pamela L.; Stachowicz, John J.

    2007-01-01

    The biodiversity of ecosystems worldwide is changing because of species loss due to human-caused extinctions and species gain through intentional and accidental introductions. Here we show that the combined effect of these two processes is altering the trophic structure of food webs in coastal marine systems. This is because most extinctions (∼70%) occur at high trophic levels (top predators and other carnivores), while most invasions are by species from lower trophic levels (70% macroplanktivores, deposit feeders, and detritivores). These opposing changes thus alter the shape of marine food webs from a trophic pyramid capped by a diverse array of predators and consumers to a shorter, squatter configuration dominated by filter feeders and scavengers. The consequences of the simultaneous loss of diversity at top trophic levels and gain at lower trophic levels is largely unknown. However, current research suggests that a better understanding of how such simultaneous changes in diversity can impact ecosystem function will be required to manage coastal ecosystems and forecast future changes. PMID:17356703

  3. Food marketing on popular children's web sites: a content analysis.

    PubMed

    Alvy, Lisa M; Calvert, Sandra L

    2008-04-01

    In 2006 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that food marketing was a contributor to childhood obesity in the United States. One recommendation of the IOM committee was for research on newer marketing venues, such as Internet Web sites. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to answer the IOM's call by examining food marketing on popular children's Web sites. Ten Web sites were selected based on market research conducted by KidSay, which identified favorite sites of children aged 8 to 11 years during February 2005. Using a standardized coding form, these sites were examined page by page for the existence, type, and features of food marketing. Web sites were compared using chi2 analyses. Although food marketing was not pervasive on the majority of the sites, seven of the 10 Web sites contained food marketing. The products marketed were primarily candy, cereal, quick serve restaurants, and snacks. Candystand.com, a food product site, contained a significantly greater amount of food marketing than the other popular children's Web sites. Because the foods marketed to children are not consistent with a healthful diet, nutrition professionals should consider joining advocacy groups to pressure industry to reduce online food marketing directed at youth.

  4. Anti-predator defence and the complexity-stability relationship of food webs.

    PubMed

    Kondoh, Michio

    2007-07-07

    The mechanism for maintaining complex food webs has been a central issue in ecology because theory often predicts that complexity (higher the species richness, more the interactions) destabilizes food webs. Although it has been proposed that prey anti-predator defence may affect the stability of prey-predator dynamics, such studies assumed a limited and relatively simpler variation in the food-web structure. Here, using mathematical models, I report that food-web flexibility arising from prey anti-predator defence enhances community-level stability (community persistence and robustness) in more complex systems and even changes the complexity-stability relationship. The model analysis shows that adaptive predator-specific defence enhances community-level stability under a wide range of food-web complexity levels and topologies, while generalized defence does not. Furthermore, while increasing food-web complexity has minor or negative effects on community-level stability in the absence of defence adaptation, or in the presence of generalized defence, in the presence of predator-specific defence, the connectance-stability relationship may become unimodal. Increasing species richness, in contrast, always lowers community-level stability. The emergence of a positive connectance-stability relationship however necessitates food-web compartmentalization, high defence efficiency and low defence cost, suggesting that it only occurs under a restricted condition.

  5. Fluctuating silicate:nitrate ratios and coastal plankton food webs.

    PubMed

    Turner, R E; Qureshi, N; Rabalais, N N; Dortch, Q; Justić, D; Shaw, R F; Cope, J

    1998-10-27

    Marine diatoms require dissolved silicate to form an external shell, and their growth becomes Si-limited when the atomic ratio of silicate to dissolved inorganic nitrogen (Si:DIN) approaches 1:1, also known as the "Redfield ratio." Fundamental changes in the diatom-to-zooplankton-to-higher trophic level food web should occur when this ratio falls below 1:1 and the proportion of diatoms in the phytoplankton community is reduced. We quantitatively substantiate these predictions by using a variety of data from the Mississippi River continental shelf, a system in which the Si:DIN loading ratio has declined from around 3:1 to 1:1 during this century because of land-use practices in the watershed. We suggest that, on this shelf, when the Si:DIN ratio in the river decreases to less than 1:1, then (i) copepod abundance changes from >75% to <30% of the total mesozooplankton, (ii) zooplankton fecal pellets become a minor component of the in situ primary production consumed, and (iii) bottom-water oxygen consumption rates become less dependent on relatively fast-sinking (diatom-rich) organic matter packaged mostly as zooplankton fecal pellets. This coastal ecosystem appears to be a pelagic food web dynamically poised to be either a food web composed of diatoms and copepods or one with potentially disruptive harmful algal blooms. The system is directed between these two ecosystem states by Mississippi River water quality, which is determined by land-use practices far inland.

  6. Moving beyond linear food chains: trait-mediated indirect interactions in a rocky intertidal food web.

    PubMed

    Trussell, Geoffrey C; Matassa, Catherine M; Ewanchuk, Patrick J

    2017-03-29

    In simple, linear food chains, top predators can have positive indirect effects on basal resources by causing changes in the traits (e.g. behaviour, feeding rates) of intermediate consumers. Although less is known about trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs) in more complex food webs, it has been suggested that such complexity dampens trophic cascades. We examined TMIIs between a predatory crab (Carcinus maenas) and two ecologically important basal resources, fucoid algae (Ascophyllum nodosum) and barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides), which are consumed by herbivorous (Littorina littorea) and carnivorous (Nucella lapillus) snails, respectively. Because crab predation risk suppresses snail feeding rates, we hypothesized that crabs would also shape direct and indirect interactions among the multiple consumers and resources. We found that the magnitude of TMIIs between the crab and each resource depended on the suite of intermediate consumers present in the food web. Carnivorous snails (Nucella) transmitted TMIIs between crabs and barnacles. However, crab-algae TMIIs were transmitted by both herbivorous (Littorina) and carnivorous (Nucella) snails, and these TMIIs were additive. By causing Nucella to consume fewer barnacles, crab predation risk allowed fucoids that had settled on or between barnacles to remain in the community. Hence, positive interactions between barnacles and algae caused crab-algae TMIIs to be strongest when both consumers were present. Studies of TMIIs in more realistic, reticulate food webs will be necessary for a more complete understanding of how predation risk shapes community dynamics. © 2017 The Author(s).

  7. The effects of food web structure on ecosystem function exceeds those of precipitation.

    PubMed

    Trzcinski, M Kurtis; Srivastava, Diane S; Corbara, Bruno; Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Carrias, Jean-François; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2016-09-01

    Ecosystems are being stressed by climate change, but few studies have tested food web responses to changes in precipitation patterns and the consequences to ecosystem function. Fewer still have considered whether results from one geographic region can be applied to other regions, given the degree of community change over large biogeographic gradients. We assembled, in one field site, three types of macroinvertebrate communities within water-filled bromeliads. Two represented food webs containing both a fast filter feeder-microbial and slow detritivore energy channels found in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, and one represented the structurally simpler food webs in French Guiana, which only contained the fast filter feeder-microbial channel. We manipulated the amount and distribution of rain entering bromeliads and examined how food web structure mediated ecosystem responses to changes in the quantity and temporal distribution of precipitation. Food web structure affected the survival of functional groups in general and ecosystem functions such as decomposition and the production of fine particulate organic matter. Ecosystem processes were more affected by decreased precipitation than were the abundance of micro-organisms and metazoans. In our experiments, the sensitivity of the ecosystem to precipitation change was primarily revealed in the food web dominated by the single filter feeder-microbial channel because other top-down and bottom-up processes were weak or absent. Our results show stronger effects of food web structure than precipitation change per se on the functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Consequently, we predict that ecosystem function in bromeliads throughout the Americas will be more sensitive to changes in the distribution of species, rather than to the direct effects caused by changes in precipitation. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

  8. Food security under climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hertel, Thomas W.

    2016-01-01

    Using food prices to assess climate change impacts on food security is misleading. Differential impacts on income require a broader measure of household well-being, such as changes in absolute poverty.

  9. Isotopic diversity indices: how sensitive to food web structure?

    PubMed

    Brind'Amour, Anik; Dubois, Stanislas F

    2013-01-01

    Recently revisited, the concept of niche ecology has lead to the formalisation of functional and trophic niches using stable isotope ratios. Isotopic diversity indices (IDI) derived from a set of measures assessing the dispersion/distribution of points in the δ-space were recently suggested and increasingly used in the literature. However, three main critics emerge from the use of these IDI: 1) they fail to account for the isotopic sources overlap, 2) some indices are highly sensitive to the number of species and/or the presence of rare species, and 3) the lack of standardization prevents any spatial and temporal comparisons. Using simulations we investigated the ability of six commonly used IDI to discriminate among different trophic food web structures, with a focus on the first two critics. We tested the sensitivity of the IDI to five food web structures along a gradient of sources overlap, varying from two distinct food chains with differentiated sources to two superimposed food chains sharing two sources. For each of the food web structure we varied the number of species (from 10 to 100 species) and the type of species feeding behaviour (i.e. random or selective feeding). Values of IDI were generally larger in food webs with distinct basal sources and tended to decrease as the superimposition of the food chains increased. This was more pronounced when species displayed food preferences in comparison to food webs where species fed randomly on any prey. The number of species composing the food web also had strong effects on the metrics, including those that were supposedly less sensitive to small sample size. In all cases, computing IDI on food webs with low numbers of species always increases the uncertainty of the metrics. A threshold of ~20 species was detected above which several metrics can be safely used.

  10. Isotopic Diversity Indices: How Sensitive to Food Web Structure?

    PubMed Central

    Brind'Amour, Anik; Dubois, Stanislas F.

    2013-01-01

    Recently revisited, the concept of niche ecology has lead to the formalisation of functional and trophic niches using stable isotope ratios. Isotopic diversity indices (IDI) derived from a set of measures assessing the dispersion/distribution of points in the δ-space were recently suggested and increasingly used in the literature. However, three main critics emerge from the use of these IDI: 1) they fail to account for the isotopic sources overlap, 2) some indices are highly sensitive to the number of species and/or the presence of rare species, and 3) the lack of standardization prevents any spatial and temporal comparisons. Using simulations we investigated the ability of six commonly used IDI to discriminate among different trophic food web structures, with a focus on the first two critics. We tested the sensitivity of the IDI to five food web structures along a gradient of sources overlap, varying from two distinct food chains with differentiated sources to two superimposed food chains sharing two sources. For each of the food web structure we varied the number of species (from 10 to 100 species) and the type of species feeding behaviour (i.e. random or selective feeding). Values of IDI were generally larger in food webs with distinct basal sources and tended to decrease as the superimposition of the food chains increased. This was more pronounced when species displayed food preferences in comparison to food webs where species fed randomly on any prey. The number of species composing the food web also had strong effects on the metrics, including those that were supposedly less sensitive to small sample size. In all cases, computing IDI on food webs with low numbers of species always increases the uncertainty of the metrics. A threshold of ∼20 species was detected above which several metrics can be safely used. PMID:24391910

  11. Isotopic evidence for the spatial heterogeneity of the planktonic food webs in the transition zone between river and lake ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Doi, Hideyuki; Zuykova, Elena I; Shikano, Shuichi; Kikuchi, Eisuke; Ota, Hiroshi; Yurlova, Natalia I; Yadrenkina, Elena

    2013-01-01

    Resources and organisms in food webs are distributed patchily. The spatial structure of food webs is important and critical to understanding their overall structure. However, there is little available information about the small-scale spatial structure of food webs. We investigated the spatial structure of food webs in a lake ecosystem at the littoral transition zone between an inflowing river and a lake. We measured the carbon isotope ratios of zooplankton and particulate organic matter (POM; predominantly phytoplankton) in the littoral zone of a saline lake. Parallel changes in the δ (13)C values of zooplankton and their respective POMs indicated that there is spatial heterogeneity of the food web in this study area. Lake ecosystems are usually classified at the landscape level as either pelagic or littoral habitats. However, we showed small-scale spatial heterogeneity among planktonic food webs along an environmental gradient. Stable isotope data is useful for detecting spatial heterogeneity of habitats, populations, communities, and ecosystems.

  12. Isotopic evidence for the spatial heterogeneity of the planktonic food webs in the transition zone between river and lake ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Zuykova, Elena I.; Shikano, Shuichi; Kikuchi, Eisuke; Ota, Hiroshi; Yurlova, Natalia I.; Yadrenkina, Elena

    2013-01-01

    Resources and organisms in food webs are distributed patchily. The spatial structure of food webs is important and critical to understanding their overall structure. However, there is little available information about the small-scale spatial structure of food webs. We investigated the spatial structure of food webs in a lake ecosystem at the littoral transition zone between an inflowing river and a lake. We measured the carbon isotope ratios of zooplankton and particulate organic matter (POM; predominantly phytoplankton) in the littoral zone of a saline lake. Parallel changes in the δ 13C values of zooplankton and their respective POMs indicated that there is spatial heterogeneity of the food web in this study area. Lake ecosystems are usually classified at the landscape level as either pelagic or littoral habitats. However, we showed small-scale spatial heterogeneity among planktonic food webs along an environmental gradient. Stable isotope data is useful for detecting spatial heterogeneity of habitats, populations, communities, and ecosystems. PMID:24392286

  13. Dynamics of the Lake Michigan food web, 1970-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Johengen, Thomas H.; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Fleischer, Guy W.; Schneeberger, Philip J.; Benjamin, Darren M.; Smith, Emily B.; Bence, James R.; Rutherford, Edward S.; Lavis, Dennis S.; Robertson, Dale M.; Jude, David J.; Ebener, Mark P.

    2002-01-01

    Herein, we document changes in the Lake Michigan food web between 1970 and 2000 and identify the factors responsible for these changes. Control of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) populations in Lake Michigan, beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, had profound effects on the food web. Recoveries of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and burbot (Lota lota) populations, as well as the buildup of salmonine populations, were attributable, at least in part, to sea lamprey control. Based on our analyses, predation by salmonines was primarily responsible for the reduction in alewife abundance during the 1970s and early 1980s. In turn, the decrease in alewife abundance likely contributed to recoveries of deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsoni), yellow perch (Perca flavescens), and burbot populations during the 1970s and 1980s. Decrease in the abundance of all three dominant benthic macroinvertebrate groups, including Diporeia, oligochaetes, and sphaeriids, during the 1980s in nearshore waters (50 m deep) of Lake Michigan, was attributable to a decrease in primary production linked to a decline in phosphorus loadings. Continued decrease in Diporeia abundance during the 1990s was associated with the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) invasion, but specific mechanisms for zebra mussels affecting Diporeia abundance remain unidentified.

  14. Compilation and network analyses of cambrian food webs.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Williams, Richard J; Martinez, Neo D; Wood, Rachel A; Erwin, Douglas H

    2008-04-29

    A rich body of empirically grounded theory has developed about food webs--the networks of feeding relationships among species within habitats. However, detailed food-web data and analyses are lacking for ancient ecosystems, largely because of the low resolution of taxa coupled with uncertain and incomplete information about feeding interactions. These impediments appear insurmountable for most fossil assemblages; however, a few assemblages with excellent soft-body preservation across trophic levels are candidates for food-web data compilation and topological analysis. Here we present plausible, detailed food webs for the Chengjiang and Burgess Shale assemblages from the Cambrian Period. Analyses of degree distributions and other structural network properties, including sensitivity analyses of the effects of uncertainty associated with Cambrian diet designations, suggest that these early Paleozoic communities share remarkably similar topology with modern food webs. Observed regularities reflect a systematic dependence of structure on the numbers of taxa and links in a web. Most aspects of Cambrian food-web structure are well-characterized by a simple "niche model," which was developed for modern food webs and takes into account this scale dependence. However, a few aspects of topology differ between the ancient and recent webs: longer path lengths between species and more species in feeding loops in the earlier Chengjiang web, and higher variability in the number of links per species for both Cambrian webs. Our results are relatively insensitive to the exclusion of low-certainty or random links. The many similarities between Cambrian and recent food webs point toward surprisingly strong and enduring constraints on the organization of complex feeding interactions among metazoan species. The few differences could reflect a transition to more strongly integrated and constrained trophic organization within ecosystems following the rapid diversification of species, body

  15. Tracking contaminant flux from aquatic to terrestrial food webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic insects provide a critical energy subsidy to riparian food webs, yet their role as vectors of contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems is poorly understood. We investigated aquatic resource utilization and contaminant exposure among riparian invertivores (spiders and herpt...

  16. Food webs: reconciling the structure and function of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Ross M; Brose, Ulrich; Dunne, Jennifer A; Hall, Robert O; Hladyz, Sally; Kitching, Roger L; Martinez, Neo D; Rantala, Heidi; Romanuk, Tamara N; Stouffer, Daniel B; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2012-12-01

    The global biodiversity crisis concerns not only unprecedented loss of species within communities, but also related consequences for ecosystem function. Community ecology focuses on patterns of species richness and community composition, whereas ecosystem ecology focuses on fluxes of energy and materials. Food webs provide a quantitative framework to combine these approaches and unify the study of biodiversity and ecosystem function. We summarise the progression of food-web ecology and the challenges in using the food-web approach. We identify five areas of research where these advances can continue, and be applied to global challenges. Finally, we describe what data are needed in the next generation of food-web studies to reconcile the structure and function of biodiversity.

  17. Tracking contaminant flux from aquatic to terrestrial food webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic insects provide a critical energy subsidy to riparian food webs, yet their role as vectors of contaminants to terrestrial ecosystems is poorly understood. We investigated aquatic resource utilization and contaminant exposure among riparian invertivores (spiders and herpt...

  18. Using food-web theory to conserve ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    McDonald-Madden, E.; Sabbadin, R.; Game, E. T.; Baxter, P. W. J.; Chadès, I.; Possingham, H. P.

    2016-01-01

    Food-web theory can be a powerful guide to the management of complex ecosystems. However, we show that indices of species importance common in food-web and network theory can be a poor guide to ecosystem management, resulting in significantly more extinctions than necessary. We use Bayesian Networks and Constrained Combinatorial Optimization to find optimal management strategies for a wide range of real and hypothetical food webs. This Artificial Intelligence approach provides the ability to test the performance of any index for prioritizing species management in a network. While no single network theory index provides an appropriate guide to management for all food webs, a modified version of the Google PageRank algorithm reliably minimizes the chance and severity of negative outcomes. Our analysis shows that by prioritizing ecosystem management based on the network-wide impact of species protection rather than species loss, we can substantially improve conservation outcomes. PMID:26776253

  19. Regime shifts in marine communities: a complex systems perspective on food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Yletyinen, Johanna; Bodin, Örjan; Weigel, Benjamin; Nordström, Marie C; Bonsdorff, Erik; Blenckner, Thorsten

    2016-02-24

    Species composition and habitats are changing at unprecedented rates in the world's oceans, potentially causing entire food webs to shift to structurally and functionally different regimes. Despite the severity of these regime shifts, elucidating the precise nature of their underlying processes has remained difficult. We address this challenge with a new analytic approach to detect and assess the relative strength of different driving processes in food webs. Our study draws on complexity theory, and integrates the network-centric exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) framework developed within the social sciences with community ecology. In contrast to previous research, this approach makes clear assumptions of direction of causality and accommodates a dynamic perspective on the emergence of food webs. We apply our approach to analysing food webs of the Baltic Sea before and after a previously reported regime shift. Our results show that the dominant food web processes have remained largely the same, although we detect changes in their magnitudes. The results indicate that the reported regime shift may not be a system-wide shift, but instead involve a limited number of species. Our study emphasizes the importance of community-wide analysis on marine regime shifts and introduces a novel approach to examine food webs.

  20. Regime shifts in marine communities: a complex systems perspective on food web dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Yletyinen, Johanna; Bodin, Örjan; Weigel, Benjamin; Nordström, Marie C.; Bonsdorff, Erik; Blenckner, Thorsten

    2016-01-01

    Species composition and habitats are changing at unprecedented rates in the world's oceans, potentially causing entire food webs to shift to structurally and functionally different regimes. Despite the severity of these regime shifts, elucidating the precise nature of their underlying processes has remained difficult. We address this challenge with a new analytic approach to detect and assess the relative strength of different driving processes in food webs. Our study draws on complexity theory, and integrates the network-centric exponential random graph modelling (ERGM) framework developed within the social sciences with community ecology. In contrast to previous research, this approach makes clear assumptions of direction of causality and accommodates a dynamic perspective on the emergence of food webs. We apply our approach to analysing food webs of the Baltic Sea before and after a previously reported regime shift. Our results show that the dominant food web processes have remained largely the same, although we detect changes in their magnitudes. The results indicate that the reported regime shift may not be a system-wide shift, but instead involve a limited number of species. Our study emphasizes the importance of community-wide analysis on marine regime shifts and introduces a novel approach to examine food webs. PMID:26888032

  1. Effects of taxonomic and trophic aggregation on food web properties.

    PubMed

    Sugihara, George; Bersier, L-F; Schoenly, Kenneth

    1997-10-01

    Historically, ecologists have been more interested in organisms feeding at the tops of food chains than in organisms feeding at or near the bottom. The problem of taxonomic and trophic inconsistency within and among described food webs is central to criticisms of contemporary food web research. To study the effects of taxonomic and trophic aggregation on food web properties, 38 published food webs, each containing a large fraction of investigator-defined biological species, were systematically aggregated by taxonomy and trophic (functional) group similarity. During each step of taxonomic and trophic aggregation, eight food web properties (MIN, MAX, mean chain lengths; the fractions of basal, intermediate and top species; the ratio of all links by the total number of species, L/S; and rigid circuits) were calculated and their departures from the original, unaggregated version were recorded. We found only two␣properties showing wide systematic departure from initial values after both taxonomic and trophic group aggregation: the fraction of basal species and L/S. One reason for the relative `constancy' of the six other properties was due in part to large numbers of trophically equivalent species (species with identical sets of prey and predators) found in these and other published webs. In the 38 webs, the average number of trophically equivalent species was 45% and ranged from a low of 13% in aquatic webs to a high of 71% in certain terrestrial systems (i.e., carrion webs). Six of the eight properties (MIN, MAX and mean chain lengths, the fractions of top and basal species, and the L/S ratio) were found to be more sensitive to taxonomic than to trophic aggregation. The relatively smaller variations observed in trophically lumped versions suggest that food web properties more aptly reflect functional, rather than taxonomic, attributes of real food webs. These findings parallel earlier trophic-based results, and bolster the conclusion that uneven lumping of taxonomic

  2. Compilation and Network Analyses of Cambrian Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Williams, Richard J; Martinez, Neo D; Wood, Rachel A; Erwin, Douglas H

    2008-01-01

    A rich body of empirically grounded theory has developed about food webs—the networks of feeding relationships among species within habitats. However, detailed food-web data and analyses are lacking for ancient ecosystems, largely because of the low resolution of taxa coupled with uncertain and incomplete information about feeding interactions. These impediments appear insurmountable for most fossil assemblages; however, a few assemblages with excellent soft-body preservation across trophic levels are candidates for food-web data compilation and topological analysis. Here we present plausible, detailed food webs for the Chengjiang and Burgess Shale assemblages from the Cambrian Period. Analyses of degree distributions and other structural network properties, including sensitivity analyses of the effects of uncertainty associated with Cambrian diet designations, suggest that these early Paleozoic communities share remarkably similar topology with modern food webs. Observed regularities reflect a systematic dependence of structure on the numbers of taxa and links in a web. Most aspects of Cambrian food-web structure are well-characterized by a simple “niche model,” which was developed for modern food webs and takes into account this scale dependence. However, a few aspects of topology differ between the ancient and recent webs: longer path lengths between species and more species in feeding loops in the earlier Chengjiang web, and higher variability in the number of links per species for both Cambrian webs. Our results are relatively insensitive to the exclusion of low-certainty or random links. The many similarities between Cambrian and recent food webs point toward surprisingly strong and enduring constraints on the organization of complex feeding interactions among metazoan species. The few differences could reflect a transition to more strongly integrated and constrained trophic organization within ecosystems following the rapid diversification of species

  3. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites.

    PubMed

    Warren, Christopher P; Pascual, Mercedes; Lafferty, Kevin D; Kuris, Armand M

    2010-01-01

    Although parasites represent an important component of ecosystems, few field and theoretical studies have addressed the structure of parasites in food webs. We evaluate the structure of parasitic links in an extensive salt marsh food web, with a new model distinguishing parasitic links from non-parasitic links among free-living species. The proposed model is an extension of the niche model for food web structure, motivated by the potential role of size (and related metabolic rates) in structuring food webs. The proposed extension captures several properties observed in the data, including patterns of clustering and nestedness, better than does a random model. By relaxing specific assumptions, we demonstrate that two essential elements of the proposed model are the similarity of a parasite's hosts and the increasing degree of parasite specialization, along a one-dimensional niche axis. Thus, inverting one of the basic rules of the original model, the one determining consumers' generality appears critical. Our results support the role of size as one of the organizing principles underlying niche space and food web topology. They also strengthen the evidence for the non-random structure of parasitic links in food webs and open the door to addressing questions concerning the consequences and origins of this structure.

  4. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations

    PubMed Central

    Haerter, Jan O.; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-01-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species. PMID:26828363

  5. Food Web Assembly Rules for Generalized Lotka-Volterra Equations.

    PubMed

    Haerter, Jan O; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2016-02-01

    In food webs, many interacting species coexist despite the restrictions imposed by the competitive exclusion principle and apparent competition. For the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, sustainable coexistence necessitates nonzero determinant of the interaction matrix. Here we show that this requirement is equivalent to demanding that each species be part of a non-overlapping pairing, which substantially constrains the food web structure. We demonstrate that a stable food web can always be obtained if a non-overlapping pairing exists. If it does not, the matrix rank can be used to quantify the lack of niches, corresponding to unpaired species. For the species richness at each trophic level, we derive the food web assembly rules, which specify sustainable combinations. In neighboring levels, these rules allow the higher level to avert competitive exclusion at the lower, thereby incorporating apparent competition. In agreement with data, the assembly rules predict high species numbers at intermediate levels and thinning at the top and bottom. Using comprehensive food web data, we demonstrate how omnivores or parasites with hosts at multiple trophic levels can loosen the constraints and help obtain coexistence in food webs. Hence, omnivory may be the glue that keeps communities intact even under extinction or ecological release of species.

  6. Genetic variation, predator–prey interactions and food web structure

    PubMed Central

    Moya-Laraño, Jordi

    2011-01-01

    Food webs are networks of species that feed on each other. The role that within-population phenotypic and genetic variation plays in food web structure is largely unknown. Here, I show via simulation how variation in two key traits, growth rates and phenology, by influencing the variability of body sizes present through time, can potentially affect several structural parameters in the direction of enhancing food web persistence: increased connectance, decreased interaction strengths, increased variation among interaction strengths and increased degree of omnivory. I discuss other relevant traits whose variation could affect the structure of food webs, such as morphological and additional life-history traits, as well as animal personalities. Furthermore, trait variation could also contribute to the stability of food web modules through metacommunity dynamics. I propose future research to help establish a link between within-population variation and food web structure. If appropriately established, such a link could have important consequences for biological conservation, as it would imply that preserving (functional) genetic variation within populations could ensure the preservation of entire communities. PMID:21444316

  7. Stabilizing mechanisms in a food web with an introduced omnivore.

    PubMed

    Granados, Monica; Duffy, Sean; McKindsey, Christopher W; Fussmann, Gregor F

    2017-07-01

    Intraguild predation (IGP) is an omnivorous food web configuration in which the top predator consumes both a competitor (consumer) and a second prey that it shares with the competitor. This omnivorous configuration occurs frequently in food webs, but theory suggests that it is unstable unless stabilizing mechanisms exist that can decrease the strength of the omnivore and consumer interaction. Although these mechanisms have been documented in native food webs, little is known about whether they operate in the context of an introduced species. Here, we study a marine mussel aquaculture system where the introduction of omnivorous mussels should generate an unstable food web that favors the extinction of the consumer, yet it persists. Using field and laboratory approaches, we searched for stabilizing mechanisms that could reduce interaction strengths in the food web. While field zooplankton counts suggested that mussels influence the composition and abundance of copepods, stable isotope results indicated that life-history omnivory and cannibalism facilitated the availability of prey refugia, and reduced competition and the interaction strength between the mussel omnivore and zooplankton consumers. In laboratory experiments, however, we found no evidence of adaptive feeding which could weaken predator-consumer interactions. Our food web study suggests that the impact of an introduced omnivore may not only depend on its interaction with native species but also on the availability of stabilizing mechanisms that alter the strength of those interactions.

  8. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Warren, Christopher P.; Pascual, Mercedes; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.

    2010-01-01

    Although parasites represent an important component of ecosystems, few field and theoretical studies have addressed the structure of parasites in food webs. We evaluate the structure of parasitic links in an extensive salt marsh food web, with a new model distinguishing parasitic links from non-parasitic links among free-living species. The proposed model is an extension of the niche model for food web structure, motivated by the potential role of size (and related metabolic rates) in structuring food webs. The proposed extension captures several properties observed in the data, including patterns of clustering and nestedness, better than does a random model. By relaxing specific assumptions, we demonstrate that two essential elements of the proposed model are the similarity of a parasite's hosts and the increasing degree of parasite specialization, along a one-dimensional niche axis. Thus, inverting one of the basic rules of the original model, the one determining consumers' generality appears critical. Our results support the role of size as one of the organizing principles underlying niche space and food web topology. They also strengthen the evidence for the non-random structure of parasitic links in food webs and open the door to addressing questions concerning the consequences and origins of this structure.

  9. Defining ecospace of Arctic marine food webs using a novel quantitative approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gale, M.; Loseto, L. L.

    2011-12-01

    The Arctic is currently facing unprecedented change with developmental, physical and climatological changes. Food webs within the marine Arctic environment are highly susceptible to anthropogenic stressors and have thus far been understudied. Stable isotopes, in conjunction with a novel set of metrics, may provide a framework that allows us to understand which areas of the Arctic are most vulnerable to change. The objective of this study was to use linear distance metrics applied to stable isotopes to a) define and quantify four Arctic marine food webs in ecospace; b) enable quantifiable comparisons among the four food webs and with other ecosystems; and, c) evaluate vulnerability of the four food webs to anthropogenic stressors such as climate change. The areas studied were Hudson Bay, Beaufort Sea, Lancaster Sound and North Water Polynya. Each region was selected based on the abundance of previous research and published and available stable isotope data in peer-review literature. We selected species to cover trophic levels ranging from particulate matter to polar bears with consideration of pelagic, benthic and ice-associated energy pathways. We interpret higher diversity in baseline carbon energy as signifying higher stability in food web structure. Based on this, the Beaufort Sea food web had the highest stability; the Beaufort Sea food web occupied the largest isotopic niche space and was supported by multiple carbon sources. Areas with top-down control system, such as Lancaster Sound and North Water Polynya, would be the first to experience an increase in trophic redundancy and possible hardships from external stressors, as they have fewer basal carbon sources and greater numbers of mid-high level consumers. We conclude that a diverse carbon energy based ecosystem such as the Beaufort Sea and Hudson Bay regions are more resilient to change than a top down control system.

  10. Regional Comparisons of Oceanic Food Web Structure Using Stable Isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choy, A.; Drazen, J.; Popp, B. N.; Robison, B. H.

    2016-02-01

    Food chain length, or the number of trophic steps between primary producers and apex predators within an ecosystem, is a key determinant of ecosystem structure, including overall efficiency, stability, and productivity. Here, we quantitatively estimate food chain length for three pelagic ecosystems characterized by distinct biogeochemical and oceanographic regimes: the Northern California Current (NCC), the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), and the Gulf of California (GoC). From each region, ecologically equivalent organisms were selected from each of four successive trophic steps, including zooplankton (primary consumers), zooplanktivores (secondary consumers), piscivores (tertiary consumers), and higher order predators. Bulk tissue δ15N values of the organisms from all four trophic steps spanned ranges of approximately 9.8‰ (NCC), 1.4‰ (NPSG), and 2.1‰ (GoC). Regional variations in nitrogen biogeochemistry, however, can alter isotopic baselines and food web dynamics, ultimately complicating bulk isotope measurements across regions. Thus, we apply amino acid nitrogen isotope measurements to quantitatively measure and compare food chain length across consumers from the three regions, accounting for biogeochemical disparities in isotopic baseline. Implications for ecosystem production and efficiency are discussed, including the potential for these different ecosystems to withstand environmental change, including shifting oxygen levels and surface productivity.

  11. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in evolving food webs.

    PubMed

    Allhoff, K T; Drossel, B

    2016-05-19

    We use computer simulations in order to study the interplay between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) during both the formation and the ongoing evolution of large food webs. A species in our model is characterized by its own body mass, its preferred prey body mass and the width of its potential prey body mass spectrum. On an ecological time scale, population dynamics determines which species are viable and which ones go extinct. On an evolutionary time scale, new species emerge as modifications of existing ones. The network structure thus emerges and evolves in a self-organized manner. We analyse the relation between functional diversity and five community level measures of ecosystem functioning. These are the metabolic loss of the predator community, the total biomasses of the basal and the predator community, and the consumption rates on the basal community and within the predator community. Clear BEF relations are observed during the initial build-up of the networks, or when parameters are varied, causing bottom-up or top-down effects. However, ecosystem functioning measures fluctuate only very little during long-term evolution under constant environmental conditions, despite changes in functional diversity. This result supports the hypothesis that trophic cascades are weaker in more complex food webs. © 2016 The Author(s).

  12. Model of carbon cycling in planktonic food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Connolly, J.P.; Coffin, R.B.

    1995-10-01

    A mathematical model of carbon fluxes through the heterotrophic microbial food web is developed from a synthesis of laboratory and field research. The basis of the model is the segregation of organic carbon into lability classes that are defined by bioassay experiments. Bacteria, phytoplankton, three trophic levels of zooplankton, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) are modeled. The descriptions of bacterial growth and utilization of the various classes of substrate were treated as universal constants in the application of the model to three distinct ecosystems, ranging from oligotrophic to highly eutrophic. The successful application of the model to these diverse ecosystems supports the basic validity of the description of the microbial food web and the dynamics of carbon flux. The model indicates that the dynamics of bacteria and protozoan zooplankton production govern the rates of oxidation of carbon entering the water column. Explicit consideration of these groups would improve the capability of eutrophication models to predict dissolved oxygen dynamics, particularly when projecting responses to loading changes.

  13. Community fluctuations and local extinction in a planktonic food web.

    PubMed

    Segura, A M; Calliari, D; Lan, B L; Fort, H; Widdicombe, C E; Harmer, R; Arim, M

    2017-04-01

    Determining statistical patterns irrespective of interacting agents (i.e. macroecology) is useful to explore the mechanisms driving population fluctuations and extinctions in natural food webs. Here, we tested four predictions of a neutral model on the distribution of community fluctuations (CF) and the distributions of persistence times (APT). Novel predictions for the food web were generated by combining (1) body size-density scaling, (2) Taylor's law and (3) low efficiency of trophic transference. Predictions were evaluated on an exceptional data set of plankton with 15 years of weekly samples encompassing c. 250 planktonic species from three trophic levels, sampled in the western English Channel. Highly symmetric non-Gaussian distributions of CF support zero-sum dynamics. Variability in CF decreased while a change from an exponential to a power law distribution of APT from basal to upper trophic positions was detected. Results suggest a predictable but profound effect of trophic position on fluctuations and extinction in natural communities. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  14. Climate change and food security

    PubMed Central

    Gregory, P.J; Ingram, J.S.I; Brklacich, M

    2005-01-01

    Dynamic interactions between and within the biogeophysical and human environments lead to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, resulting in food systems that underpin food security. Food systems encompass food availability (production, distribution and exchange), food access (affordability, allocation and preference) and food utilization (nutritional and societal values and safety), so that food security is, therefore, diminished when food systems are stressed. Such stresses may be induced by a range of factors in addition to climate change and/or other agents of environmental change (e.g. conflict, HIV/AIDS) and may be particularly severe when these factors act in combination. Urbanization and globalization are causing rapid changes to food systems. Climate change may affect food systems in several ways ranging from direct effects on crop production (e.g. changes in rainfall leading to drought or flooding, or warmer or cooler temperatures leading to changes in the length of growing season), to changes in markets, food prices and supply chain infrastructure. The relative importance of climate change for food security differs between regions. For example, in southern Africa, climate is among the most frequently cited drivers of food insecurity because it acts both as an underlying, ongoing issue and as a short-lived shock. The low ability to cope with shocks and to mitigate long-term stresses means that coping strategies that might be available in other regions are unavailable or inappropriate. In other regions, though, such as parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of India, other drivers, such as labour issues and the availability and quality of ground water for irrigation, rank higher than the direct effects of climate change as factors influencing food security. Because of the multiple socio-economic and bio-physical factors affecting food systems and hence food security, the capacity to adapt food systems to reduce their

  15. Climate change and food security.

    PubMed

    Gregory, P J; Ingram, J S I; Brklacich, M

    2005-11-29

    Dynamic interactions between and within the biogeophysical and human environments lead to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, resulting in food systems that underpin food security. Food systems encompass food availability (production, distribution and exchange), food access (affordability, allocation and preference) and food utilization (nutritional and societal values and safety), so that food security is, therefore, diminished when food systems are stressed. Such stresses may be induced by a range of factors in addition to climate change and/or other agents of environmental change (e.g. conflict, HIV/AIDS) and may be particularly severe when these factors act in combination. Urbanization and globalization are causing rapid changes to food systems. Climate change may affect food systems in several ways ranging from direct effects on crop production (e.g. changes in rainfall leading to drought or flooding, or warmer or cooler temperatures leading to changes in the length of growing season), to changes in markets, food prices and supply chain infrastructure. The relative importance of climate change for food security differs between regions. For example, in southern Africa, climate is among the most frequently cited drivers of food insecurity because it acts both as an underlying, ongoing issue and as a short-lived shock. The low ability to cope with shocks and to mitigate long-term stresses means that coping strategies that might be available in other regions are unavailable or inappropriate. In other regions, though, such as parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of India, other drivers, such as labour issues and the availability and quality of ground water for irrigation, rank higher than the direct effects of climate change as factors influencing food security. Because of the multiple socio-economic and bio-physical factors affecting food systems and hence food security, the capacity to adapt food systems to reduce their

  16. Predator hunting mode influences patterns of prey use from grazing and epigeic food webs.

    PubMed

    Wimp, Gina M; Murphy, Shannon M; Lewis, Danny; Douglas, Margaret R; Ambikapathi, Ramya; Van-Tull, Lie'Ann; Gratton, Claudio; Denno, Robert F

    2013-02-01

    Multichannel omnivory by generalist predators, especially the use of both grazing and epigeic prey, has the potential to increase predator abundance and decrease herbivore populations. However, predator use of the epigeic web (soil surface detritus/microbe/algae consumers) varies considerably for reasons that are poorly understood. We therefore used a stable isotope approach to determine whether prey availability and predator hunting style (active hunting vs. passive web-building) impacted the degree of multichannel omnivory by the two most abundant predators on an intertidal salt marsh, both spiders. We found that carbon isotopic values of herbivores remained constant during the growing season, while values for epigeic feeders became dramatically more enriched such that values for the two webs converged in August. Carbon isotopic values for both spider species remained midway between the two webs as values for epigeic feeders shifted, indicating substantial use of prey from both food webs by both spider species. As the season progressed, prey abundance in the grazing food web increased while prey abundance in the epigeic web remained constant or declined. In response, prey consumption by the web-building spider shifted toward the grazing web to a much greater extent than did consumption by the hunting spider, possibly because passive web-capture is more responsive to changes in prey availability. Although both generalist predator species engaged in multichannel omnivory, hunting mode influenced the extent to which these predators used prey from the grazing and epigeic food webs, and could thereby influence the strength of trophic cascades in both food webs.

  17. Inferring chemical effects on carbon flows in aquatic food webs: methodology and case study.

    PubMed

    De Laender, Frederik; Soetaert, K; Middelburg, J J

    2010-05-01

    The majority of ecotoxicological enclosure experiments monitor species abundances at different chemical concentrations. Here, we present a new modelling approach that estimates changes in food web flows from such data and show that population- and food web level effects are revealed that are not apparent from abundance data alone. For the case of cypermethrin in freshwater enclosures, photosynthesis and excretion (d(-1)) of phytoplankton at 3.643 microg L(-1) cypermethrin were 30% lower and 100% higher than in the control, respectively. The ingestion rate of mesozooplankton (d(-1)) was 6 times higher in the treated enclosures than in the control as food concentration increased with insecticide exposure. With increasing cypermethrin concentrations, nanoflagellates progressively relied on phytoplankton as their main food source, which rendered the food web less stable. We conclude that this tool has excellent potential to analyse the wealth of enclosure data as it only needs species abundance and general constraints.

  18. Persistence of a stage-structured food-web.

    PubMed

    Mougi, Akihiko

    2017-09-08

    Contrary to a theoretical prediction, natural communities comprise many interacting species, thereby developing complex ecosystems. Earlier theoretical studies assumed that each component species within an ecological network has a simple life history, despite the fact that the interaction partners of many species, such as their predators and resources, change during the developmental stages. This poses an open question on the effect of life history complexity on the dynamics of communities. Here using a food web model, I showed that species with a stage-structured life cycle greatly changes the relationship between community complexity and persistence. Without stage-structured species, an increase in species diversity and interaction links decreases the community persistence, whereas in the presence of stage-structured species, community complexity can increase the community persistence. Therefore, life history complexity may be a key element of biodiversity that is self-maintaining.

  19. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera D'Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-02-01

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named ‘green’ and ‘blue’ - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the ‘adaptive’ responses of plankton communities to perturbations.

  20. Anthropogenic shift of planktonic food web structure in a coastal lagoon by freshwater flow regulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemraj, Deevesh A.; Hossain, A.; Ye, Qifeng; Qin, Jian G.; Leterme, Sophie C.

    2017-03-01

    Anthropogenic modification of aquatic systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem states. To reverse the adverse effects of modified freshwater flow, adequate management of discharge is required, especially due to higher water requirements and abstractions for human use. Here, we look at the effects of anthropogenically controlled freshwater flow regimes on the planktonic food web of a Ramsar listed coastal lagoon that is under recovery from degradation. Our results show shifts in water quality and plankton community interactions associated to changes in water flow. These shifts in food web interactions represent modifications in habitat complexity and water quality. At high flow, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions dominate the food web. Conversely, at low flow, bacteria, viruses and nano/picoplankton interactions are more dominant, with a substantial switch of the food web towards heterotrophy. This switch can be associated with excess organic matter loading, decomposition of dead organisms, and synergistic and antagonistic interactions. We suggest that a lower variability in flow amplitude could be beneficial for the long-term sustaining of water quality and food web interactions, while improving the ecosystem health of systems facing similar stresses as the Coorong.

  1. Trophic magnification of Dechlorane Plus in the marine food webs of Fildes Peninsula in Antarctica.

    PubMed

    Na, Guangshui; Yao, Yao; Gao, Hui; Li, Ruijing; Ge, Linke; Titaley, Ivan A; Santiago-Delgado, Lisandra; Massey Simonich, Staci L

    2017-04-15

    The food web composition, assimilation efficiency of Dechlorane Plus (DP) in food web components, and even extrinsic conditions can affect the trophic biomagnification potentials of DP isomers in food webs. Antarctica ecological system is characterized by the presence of few consumers and simple trophic levels (TLs), which are crucial in discussing the behavior of contaminants. To assess the biomagnification potential of DP in the Antarctic food web, nine representative species were sampled and analyzed from the Fildes Peninsula. Results showed the DP concentrations ranged from 0.25ngg(-1) to 6.81ngg(-1) lipid weight in Antarctic biota and the concentrations of anti-DP and syn-DP showed significantly positive correlations with TLs (p<0.05, ra=0.85; rs=0.81, respectively), suggesting that syn-DP and anti-DP underwent biomagnification and the biomagnification ability of anti-DP was higher than that of syn-DP. The anti-DP fraction (anti-DP/∑DP) (ƒanti=0.23-0.53) of the organisms was lower than that of commercial products (ƒanti=0.68), demonstrating ƒanti was changed during long-range atmospheric transport or stereoselection enrichment through the food web. Furthermore, based on food web magnification factors (FWMF) comparison between DP and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the biomagnification potential of DP was found to be similar to that of highly chlorinated PCBs. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Anthropogenic shift of planktonic food web structure in a coastal lagoon by freshwater flow regulation

    PubMed Central

    Hemraj, Deevesh A.; Hossain, A.; Ye, Qifeng; Qin, Jian G.; Leterme, Sophie C.

    2017-01-01

    Anthropogenic modification of aquatic systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem states. To reverse the adverse effects of modified freshwater flow, adequate management of discharge is required, especially due to higher water requirements and abstractions for human use. Here, we look at the effects of anthropogenically controlled freshwater flow regimes on the planktonic food web of a Ramsar listed coastal lagoon that is under recovery from degradation. Our results show shifts in water quality and plankton community interactions associated to changes in water flow. These shifts in food web interactions represent modifications in habitat complexity and water quality. At high flow, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions dominate the food web. Conversely, at low flow, bacteria, viruses and nano/picoplankton interactions are more dominant, with a substantial switch of the food web towards heterotrophy. This switch can be associated with excess organic matter loading, decomposition of dead organisms, and synergistic and antagonistic interactions. We suggest that a lower variability in flow amplitude could be beneficial for the long-term sustaining of water quality and food web interactions, while improving the ecosystem health of systems facing similar stresses as the Coorong. PMID:28327643

  3. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web.

    PubMed

    D'Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d'Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-02-17

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named 'green' and 'blue' - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the 'adaptive' responses of plankton communities to perturbations.

  4. Ecological-network models link diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web

    PubMed Central

    D’Alelio, Domenico; Libralato, Simone; Wyatt, Timothy; Ribera d’Alcalà, Maurizio

    2016-01-01

    A planktonic food-web model including sixty-three functional nodes (representing auto- mixo- and heterotrophs) was developed to integrate most trophic diversity present in the plankton. The model was implemented in two variants - which we named ‘green’ and ‘blue’ - characterized by opposite amounts of phytoplankton biomass and representing, respectively, bloom and non-bloom states of the system. Taxonomically disaggregated food-webs described herein allowed to shed light on how components of the plankton community changed their trophic behavior in the two different conditions, and modified the overall functioning of the plankton food web. The green and blue food-webs showed distinct organizations in terms of trophic roles of the nodes and carbon fluxes between them. Such re-organization stemmed from switches in selective grazing by both metazoan and protozoan consumers. Switches in food-web structure resulted in relatively small differences in the efficiency of material transfer towards higher trophic levels. For instance, from green to blue states, a seven-fold decrease in phytoplankton biomass translated into only a two-fold decrease in potential planktivorous fish biomass. By linking diversity, structure and function in the plankton food-web, we discuss the role of internal mechanisms, relying on species-specific functionalities, in driving the ‘adaptive’ responses of plankton communities to perturbations. PMID:26883643

  5. Winter is coming: Food web structure and seasonality in a subtropical freshwater coastal lake.

    PubMed

    Peralta-Maraver, Ignacio; Robertson, Anne L; Rezende, Enrico L; Lemes da Silva, Aurea Luiza; Tonetta, Denise; Lopes, Michelle; Schmitt, Rafael; Leite, Nei K; Nuñer, Alex; Petrucio, Mauricio M

    2017-07-01

    Food web studies provide a useful tool to assess the organization and complexity of natural communities. Nevertheless, the seasonal dynamics of food web properties, their environmental correlates, and potential association with community diversity and stability remain poorly studied. Here, we condensed an incomplete 6-year community dataset of a subtropical coastal lake to examine how monthly variation in diversity impacts food web structure over an idealized time series for an averaged year. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish were mostly resolved to species level (n = 120 trophospecies). Our results showed that the seasonal organization of the food web could be aggregated into two clusters of months grouped here as 'summer' and 'winter'. During 'winter', the food web decreases in size and complexity, with the number of trophospecies dropping from 106 to 82 (a 22.6% decrease in the number of nodes) and the trophic interactions from 1,049 to 637 between month extremes (a 39.3% drop in the number of links). The observed simplification in food web structure during 'winter' suggests that community stability is more vulnerable to the impact of any change during this period.

  6. Anthropogenic shift of planktonic food web structure in a coastal lagoon by freshwater flow regulation.

    PubMed

    Hemraj, Deevesh A; Hossain, A; Ye, Qifeng; Qin, Jian G; Leterme, Sophie C

    2017-03-22

    Anthropogenic modification of aquatic systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem states. To reverse the adverse effects of modified freshwater flow, adequate management of discharge is required, especially due to higher water requirements and abstractions for human use. Here, we look at the effects of anthropogenically controlled freshwater flow regimes on the planktonic food web of a Ramsar listed coastal lagoon that is under recovery from degradation. Our results show shifts in water quality and plankton community interactions associated to changes in water flow. These shifts in food web interactions represent modifications in habitat complexity and water quality. At high flow, phytoplankton-zooplankton interactions dominate the food web. Conversely, at low flow, bacteria, viruses and nano/picoplankton interactions are more dominant, with a substantial switch of the food web towards heterotrophy. This switch can be associated with excess organic matter loading, decomposition of dead organisms, and synergistic and antagonistic interactions. We suggest that a lower variability in flow amplitude could be beneficial for the long-term sustaining of water quality and food web interactions, while improving the ecosystem health of systems facing similar stresses as the Coorong.

  7. Towards a framework for assessment and management of cumulative human impacts on marine food webs.

    PubMed

    Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Halpern, Benjamin S; Michel, Loïc N; Gobert, Sylvie; Sini, Maria; Boudouresque, Charles-François; Gambi, Maria-Cristina; Katsanevakis, Stelios; Lejeune, Pierre; Montefalcone, Monica; Pergent, Gerard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Sanchez-Jerez, Pablo; Velimirov, Branko; Vizzini, Salvatrice; Abadie, Arnaud; Coll, Marta; Guidetti, Paolo; Micheli, Fiorenza; Possingham, Hugh P

    2015-08-01

    Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic threats holistically, it is necessary to know how threats affect different components within ecosystems and ultimately alter ecosystem functioning. We used a case study of a Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) food web and expert knowledge elicitation in an application of the initial steps of a framework for assessment of cumulative human impacts on food webs. We produced a conceptual seagrass food web model, determined the main trophic relationships, identified the main threats to the food web components, and assessed the components' vulnerability to those threats. Some threats had high (e.g., coastal infrastructure) or low impacts (e.g., agricultural runoff) on all food web components, whereas others (e.g., introduced carnivores) had very different impacts on each component. Partitioning the ecosystem into its components enabled us to identify threats previously overlooked and to reevaluate the importance of threats commonly perceived as major. By incorporating this understanding of system vulnerability with data on changes in the state of each threat (e.g., decreasing domestic pollution and increasing fishing) into a food web model, managers may be better able to estimate and predict cumulative human impacts on ecosystems and to prioritize conservation actions. © 2015 Society for Conservation Biology.

  8. Static and dynamic explanations for patterns in food webs.

    PubMed

    Lawton, J H; Warren, P H

    1988-09-01

    Ten interesting patterns can be discerned in compendia of published food webs, and are not all easily dismissed as artefacts of poor data. A variety of theoretical explanations have been put forward to explain one, or more, of these patterns; for example, five reasons have been advanced for why food chains are short. Two bodies of theory each satisfactorily account for a majority (but not all) of the patterns, but draw on very different assumptions. One group of theoretical explanations is based on dynamic interactions between species, modelled by Lotka-Volterra equations. The other takes a static view of food web assembly, and assumes a trophic cascade, or hierarchy of feeding links, in which species body sizes appear to play a crucial role. On present evidence, it is not possible to distinguish between the relative contributions of either of these possibilities in the creation of structure in real food webs. Copyright © 1988. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  9. Impact of nitrogen deposition on forest and lake food webs in nitrogen-limited environments.

    PubMed

    Meunier, Cédric L; Gundale, Michael J; Sánchez, Irene S; Liess, Antonia

    2016-01-01

    Increased reactive nitrogen (Nr ) deposition has raised the amount of N available to organisms and has greatly altered the transfer of energy through food webs, with major consequences for trophic dynamics. The aim of this review was to: (i) clarify the direct and indirect effects of Nr deposition on forest and lake food webs in N-limited biomes, (ii) compare and contrast how aquatic and terrestrial systems respond to increased Nr deposition, and (iii) identify how the nutrient pathways within and between ecosystems change in response to Nr deposition. We present that Nr deposition releases primary producers from N limitation in both forest and lake ecosystems and raises plants' N content which in turn benefits herbivores with high N requirements. Such trophic effects are coupled with a general decrease in biodiversity caused by different N-use efficiencies; slow-growing species with low rates of N turnover are replaced by fast-growing species with high rates of N turnover. In contrast, Nr deposition diminishes below-ground production in forests, due to a range of mechanisms that reduce microbial biomass, and decreases lake benthic productivity by switching herbivore growth from N to phosphorus (P) limitation, and by intensifying P limitation of benthic fish. The flow of nutrients between ecosystems is expected to change with increasing Nr deposition. Due to higher litter production and more intense precipitation, more terrestrial matter will enter lakes. This will benefit bacteria and will in turn boost the microbial food web. Additionally, Nr deposition promotes emergent insects, which subsidize the terrestrial food web as prey for insectivores or by dying and decomposing on land. So far, most studies have examined Nr -deposition effects on the food web base, whereas our review highlights that changes at the base of food webs substantially impact higher trophic levels and therefore food web structure and functioning. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  10. Hydrological and Biogeochemical Controls on Seasonal and Spatial Differences in Food Webs in the Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kendall, C.; Wankel, S. D.; Bemis, B. E.; Rawlik, P. S.; Krabbenhoft, D. P.; Lange, T.

    2002-05-01

    Stable isotopes can be used to determine the relative trophic positions of biota within a food web, and to improve our understanding of the biomagnification of contaminants. Plants at the base of the food web uptake dissolved organic carbon (DIC) and nitrogen (DIN) for growth, and their tissue reflects the isotopic composition of these sources. Animals then mirror the isotopic composition of the primary producers, as modified by consumer-diet fractionations at successive trophic steps. During 1995-99, we collected algae, macrophyte, invertebrate, and fish samples from 15 USGS sites in the Everglades and analyzed them for d13C and d15N with the goal of characterizing seasonal and spatial differences in food web relations. Carbon isotopes effectively distinguish between two main types of food webs: ones where algae is the dominant base of the food web, which are characteristic of relatively pristine marsh sites with long hydroperiods, and ones where macrophyte debris appears to be a significant source of nutrients, which are apparently characteristic of shorter hydroperiod sites, and nutrient-impacted marshes and canals. There usually is an inverse relation between d13C and d15N of organisms over time, especially in more pristine environments, reflecting seasonal changes in the d13C of DIC and the d15N of DIN. The d13C and d15N of algae also show strong positive correlations with seasonal changes in water levels. This variability is substantially damped up the food chain, probably because of the longer integration times of animals vs. plants. We speculate that these seasonal shifts in water level result in changes in biogeochemical reactions and nutrient levels, with corresponding variations in the d15N and d13C of biota. For example, small changes in water level may change the balance of photosynthesis, bacterial respiration, and atmospheric exchange reactions that control the d13C of DIC. Such changes will probably also affect the d15N of dissolved inorganic N (DIN

  11. High school students' understanding of food webs: Identification of a learning hierarchy and related misconceptions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Griffiths, Alan K.; Grant, Bette A. C.

    Developing an understanding of the nature of food webs is an important topic in today's biology curricula. The relationships represented in a food web are rule-like in nature. Hence, it should be possible to construct a learning hierarchy for this concept. A hierarchy leading to the ability to determine how a change in the size of one population can affect another population in the same web but not on the same chain was hypothesized. Data from 200 subjects were extremely consistent with the hierarchy. A second major focus related to the identification of specific misconceptions held by subjects for food webs. The need to identify students' misconceptions of important concepts has been expressed widely in the recent science education literature. In the present article, an argument is presented for the usefulness of learning hierarchies in this work. Specific misconceptions and the frequencies of their occurrence are reported.

  12. Towards a mechanistic understanding of temperature and enrichment effects on species interaction strength, omnivory and food-web structure.

    PubMed

    Sentis, Arnaud; Hemptinne, Jean-Louis; Brodeur, Jacques

    2014-07-01

    Revealing the links between species functional traits, interaction strength and food-web structure is of paramount importance for understanding and predicting the relationships between food-web diversity and stability in a rapidly changing world. However, little is known about the interactive effects of environmental perturbations on individual species, trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. Here, we combined modelling and laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of warming and enrichment on a terrestrial tritrophic system. We found that the food-web structure is highly variable and switches between exploitative competition and omnivory depending on the effects of temperature and enrichment on foraging behaviour and species interaction strength. Our model contributes to identifying the mechanisms that explain how environmental effects cascade through the food web and influence its topology. We conclude that considering environmental factors and flexible food-web structure is crucial to improve our ability to predict the impacts of global changes on ecosystem diversity and stability.

  13. Omnivory and the stability of simple food webs.

    PubMed

    Holyoak, Marcel; Sachdev, Sambhav

    1998-12-01

    Traditional ecological theory predicts that the stability of simple food webs will decline with an increasing number of trophic levels and increasing amounts of omnivory. These ideas have been tested using protozoans in laboratory microcosms. However, the results are equivocal, and contrary to expectation, omnivory is common in natural food webs. Two recent developments lead us to re-evaluate these predictions using food webs assembled from protists and bacteria. First, recent modelling work suggests that omnivory is actually stabilizing, providing that interactions are not too strong. Second, it is difficult to evaluate the degree of omnivory of some protozoan species without explicit experimental tests. This study used seven species of ciliated protozoa and a mixed bacterial flora to assemble four food webs with two trophic levels, and four webs with three trophic levels. Protist species were assigned a rank for their degree of omnivory using information in the literature and the results of experiments that tested whether the starvation rate of predators was influenced by the amount of bacteria on which they may have fed and whether cannibalism (a form of omnivory) occurred. Consistent with recent modelling work, both bacterivorous and predatory species with higher degrees of omnivory showed more stable dynamics, measured using time until extinction and the temporal variability of population density. Systems with two protist species were less persistent than systems with one protist species, supporting the prediction that longer food chains will be less stable dynamically.

  14. Mercury biomagnification in marine zooplankton food webs in Hudson Bay.

    PubMed

    Foster, Karen L; Stern, Gary A; Pazerniuk, Monica A; Hickie, Brendan; Walkusz, Wojciech; Wang, Feiyue; Macdonald, Robie W

    2012-12-04

    While much research has been carried out on mercury in large marine mammals and associated food webs in northern regions, comparatively less has been conducted on lower trophic levels including zooplankton and the subsequent transfer to predators, which marks the entry of mercury into northern marine food webs. We present here the first database for mercury uptake and transfer exclusively within zooplankton food webs in northern marine waters. We have investigated both total (THg) and monomethylmercury (MMHg) concentrations, and isotopic signatures (δ(15)N and δ(13)C) in individual zooplankton taxa collected over a period of eight years (2003-2010) from across Hudson Bay (including Hudson Strait and Foxe Basin) as part of research icebreaker cruises. δ(15)N values ranged from 3.4 to 14.0‰, implying trophic levels ranging from 1 to 4, and THg concentrations ranged from 5 to 242 ng g(-1) dw. Food web linkages were identified within the data set, and mercury biomagnification was evident both with THg and MMHg concentrations increasing from prey to predator, and with trophic magnification factors (TMFs). Total mercury and MMHg transfer in a unique prey-predator linkage (Limacina helicina-Clione limacina) are investigated and discussed with regard to known physiological and biochemical characteristics. The results suggest that exposure to mercury at higher trophic levels including humans can be affected by processes at the bottom of Arctic marine food webs.

  15. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings.

    PubMed

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure.

  16. When do evolutionary food web models generate complex networks?

    PubMed

    Allhoff, Korinna T; Drossel, Barbara

    2013-10-07

    Evolutionary foodweb models are used to build food webs by the repeated addition of new species. Population dynamics leads to the extinction or establishment of a newly added species, and possibly to the extinction of other species. The food web structure that emerges after some time is a highly nontrivial result of the evolutionary and dynamical rules. We investigate the evolutionary food web model introduced by Loeuille and Loreau (2005), which characterizes species by their body mass as the only evolving trait. Our goal is to find the reasons behind the model's remarkable robustness and its capability to generate various and stable networks. In contrast to other evolutionary food web models, this model requires neither adaptive foraging nor allometric scaling of metabolic rates with body mass in order to produce complex networks that do not eventually collapse to trivial structures. Our study shows that this is essentially due to the fact that the difference in niche value between predator and prey as well as the feeding range are constrained so that they remain within narrow limits under evolution. Furthermore, competition between similar species is sufficiently strong, so that a trophic level can accommodate several species. We discuss the implications of these findings and argue that the conditions that stabilize other evolutionary food web models have similar effects because they also prevent the occurrence of extreme specialists or extreme generalists that have in general a higher fitness than species with a moderate niche width.

  17. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings

    PubMed Central

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  18. Parasites Affect Food Web Structure Primarily through Increased Diversity and Complexity

    PubMed Central

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Kuris, Armand M.; Martinez, Neo D.; McLaughlin, John P.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Poulin, Robert; Reise, Karsten; Stouffer, Daniel B.; Thieltges, David W.; Williams, Richard J.; Zander, Claus Dieter

    2013-01-01

    Comparative research on food web structure has revealed generalities in trophic organization, produced simple models, and allowed assessment of robustness to species loss. These studies have mostly focused on free-living species. Recent research has suggested that inclusion of parasites alters structure. We assess whether such changes in network structure result from unique roles and traits of parasites or from changes to diversity and complexity. We analyzed seven highly resolved food webs that include metazoan parasite data. Our analyses show that adding parasites usually increases link density and connectance (simple measures of complexity), particularly when including concomitant links (links from predators to parasites of their prey). However, we clarify prior claims that parasites “dominate” food web links. Although parasites can be involved in a majority of links, in most cases classic predation links outnumber classic parasitism links. Regarding network structure, observed changes in degree distributions, 14 commonly studied metrics, and link probabilities are consistent with scale-dependent changes in structure associated with changes in diversity and complexity. Parasite and free-living species thus have similar effects on these aspects of structure. However, two changes point to unique roles of parasites. First, adding parasites and concomitant links strongly alters the frequency of most motifs of interactions among three taxa, reflecting parasites' roles as resources for predators of their hosts, driven by trophic intimacy with their hosts. Second, compared to free-living consumers, many parasites' feeding niches appear broader and less contiguous, which may reflect complex life cycles and small body sizes. This study provides new insights about generic versus unique impacts of parasites on food web structure, extends the generality of food web theory, gives a more rigorous framework for assessing the impact of any species on trophic organization

  19. Parasites affect food web structure primarily through increased diversity and complexity.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Lafferty, Kevin D; Dobson, Andrew P; Hechinger, Ryan F; Kuris, Armand M; Martinez, Neo D; McLaughlin, John P; Mouritsen, Kim N; Poulin, Robert; Reise, Karsten; Stouffer, Daniel B; Thieltges, David W; Williams, Richard J; Zander, Claus Dieter

    2013-01-01

    Comparative research on food web structure has revealed generalities in trophic organization, produced simple models, and allowed assessment of robustness to species loss. These studies have mostly focused on free-living species. Recent research has suggested that inclusion of parasites alters structure. We assess whether such changes in network structure result from unique roles and traits of parasites or from changes to diversity and complexity. We analyzed seven highly resolved food webs that include metazoan parasite data. Our analyses show that adding parasites usually increases link density and connectance (simple measures of complexity), particularly when including concomitant links (links from predators to parasites of their prey). However, we clarify prior claims that parasites "dominate" food web links. Although parasites can be involved in a majority of links, in most cases classic predation links outnumber classic parasitism links. Regarding network structure, observed changes in degree distributions, 14 commonly studied metrics, and link probabilities are consistent with scale-dependent changes in structure associated with changes in diversity and complexity. Parasite and free-living species thus have similar effects on these aspects of structure. However, two changes point to unique roles of parasites. First, adding parasites and concomitant links strongly alters the frequency of most motifs of interactions among three taxa, reflecting parasites' roles as resources for predators of their hosts, driven by trophic intimacy with their hosts. Second, compared to free-living consumers, many parasites' feeding niches appear broader and less contiguous, which may reflect complex life cycles and small body sizes. This study provides new insights about generic versus unique impacts of parasites on food web structure, extends the generality of food web theory, gives a more rigorous framework for assessing the impact of any species on trophic organization

  20. Parasites affect food web structure primarily through increased diversity and complexity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Dobson, Andrew P.; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Kuris, Armand M.; Martinez, Neo D.; McLaughlin, John P.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Poulin, Robert; Reise, Karsten; Stouffer, Daniel B.; Thieltges, David W.; Williams, Richard J.; Zander, Claus Dieter

    2013-01-01

    Comparative research on food web structure has revealed generalities in trophic organization, produced simple models, and allowed assessment of robustness to species loss. These studies have mostly focused on free-living species. Recent research has suggested that inclusion of parasites alters structure. We assess whether such changes in network structure result from unique roles and traits of parasites or from changes to diversity and complexity. We analyzed seven highly resolved food webs that include metazoan parasite data. Our analyses show that adding parasites usually increases link density and connectance (simple measures of complexity), particularly when including concomitant links (links from predators to parasites of their prey). However, we clarify prior claims that parasites ‘‘dominate’’ food web links. Although parasites can be involved in a majority of links, in most cases classic predation links outnumber classic parasitism links. Regarding network structure, observed changes in degree distributions, 14 commonly studied metrics, and link probabilities are consistent with scale-dependent changes in structure associated with changes in diversity and complexity. Parasite and free-living species thus have similar effects on these aspects of structure. However, two changes point to unique roles of parasites. First, adding parasites and concomitant links strongly alters the frequency of most motifs of interactions among three taxa, reflecting parasites’ roles as resources for predators of their hosts, driven by trophic intimacy with their hosts. Second, compared to free-living consumers, many parasites’ feeding niches appear broader and less contiguous, which may reflect complex life cycles and small body sizes. This study provides new insights about generic versus unique impacts of parasites on food web structure, extends the generality of food web theory, gives a more rigorous framework for assessing the impact of any species on trophic

  1. Key Features of Intertidal Food Webs That Support Migratory Shorebirds

    PubMed Central

    Saint-Béat, Blanche; Dupuy, Christine; Bocher, Pierrick; Chalumeau, Julien; De Crignis, Margot; Fontaine, Camille; Guizien, Katell; Lavaud, Johann; Lefebvre, Sébastien; Montanié, Hélène; Mouget, Jean-Luc; Orvain, Francis; Pascal, Pierre-Yves; Quaintenne, Gwenaël; Radenac, Gilles; Richard, Pierre; Robin, Frédéric; Vézina, Alain F.; Niquil, Nathalie

    2013-01-01

    The migratory shorebirds of the East Atlantic flyway land in huge numbers during a migratory stopover or wintering on the French Atlantic coast. The Brouage bare mudflat (Marennes-Oléron Bay, NE Atlantic) is one of the major stopover sites in France. The particular structure and function of a food web affects the efficiency of carbon transfer. The structure and functioning of the Brouage food web is crucial for the conservation of species landing within this area because it provides sufficient food, which allows shorebirds to reach the north of Europe where they nest. The aim of this study was to describe and understand which food web characteristics support nutritional needs of birds. Two food-web models were constructed, based on in situ measurements that were made in February 2008 (the presence of birds) and July 2008 (absence of birds). To complete the models, allometric relationships and additional data from the literature were used. The missing flow values of the food web models were estimated by Monte Carlo Markov Chain – Linear Inverse Modelling. The flow solutions obtained were used to calculate the ecological network analysis indices, which estimate the emergent properties of the functioning of a food-web. The total activities of the Brouage ecosystem in February and July are significantly different. The specialisation of the trophic links within the ecosystem does not appear to differ between the two models. In spite of a large export of carbon from the primary producer and detritus in winter, the higher recycling leads to a similar retention of carbon for the two seasons. It can be concluded that in February, the higher activity of the ecosystem coupled with a higher cycling and a mean internal organization, ensure the sufficient feeding of the migratory shorebirds. PMID:24204666

  2. Key features of intertidal food webs that support migratory shorebirds.

    PubMed

    Saint-Béat, Blanche; Dupuy, Christine; Bocher, Pierrick; Chalumeau, Julien; De Crignis, Margot; Fontaine, Camille; Guizien, Katell; Lavaud, Johann; Lefebvre, Sébastien; Montanié, Hélène; Mouget, Jean-Luc; Orvain, Francis; Pascal, Pierre-Yves; Quaintenne, Gwenaël; Radenac, Gilles; Richard, Pierre; Robin, Frédéric; Vézina, Alain F; Niquil, Nathalie

    2013-01-01

    The migratory shorebirds of the East Atlantic flyway land in huge numbers during a migratory stopover or wintering on the French Atlantic coast. The Brouage bare mudflat (Marennes-Oléron Bay, NE Atlantic) is one of the major stopover sites in France. The particular structure and function of a food web affects the efficiency of carbon transfer. The structure and functioning of the Brouage food web is crucial for the conservation of species landing within this area because it provides sufficient food, which allows shorebirds to reach the north of Europe where they nest. The aim of this study was to describe and understand which food web characteristics support nutritional needs of birds. Two food-web models were constructed, based on in situ measurements that were made in February 2008 (the presence of birds) and July 2008 (absence of birds). To complete the models, allometric relationships and additional data from the literature were used. The missing flow values of the food web models were estimated by Monte Carlo Markov Chain--Linear Inverse Modelling. The flow solutions obtained were used to calculate the ecological network analysis indices, which estimate the emergent properties of the functioning of a food-web. The total activities of the Brouage ecosystem in February and July are significantly different. The specialisation of the trophic links within the ecosystem does not appear to differ between the two models. In spite of a large export of carbon from the primary producer and detritus in winter, the higher recycling leads to a similar retention of carbon for the two seasons. It can be concluded that in February, the higher activity of the ecosystem coupled with a higher cycling and a mean internal organization, ensure the sufficient feeding of the migratory shorebirds.

  3. Nutrient enrichment reduces constraints on material flows in a detritus-based food web

    Treesearch

    Wyatt F. Cross; Bruce Wallace; Amy D. Rosemond

    2007-01-01

    Most aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are experiencing increased nutrient availability, which is affecting their structure and function. By altering community composition and productivity of consumers, enrichment can indirectly cause changes in the pathways and magnitude of material flows in food webs. These changes, in turn, have major consequences for material...

  4. Ecosystem model of the entire Beaufort Sea marine ecosystem: a tool for assessing food-web structure and ecosystem changes from 1970 to 2014

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suprenand, P. M.; Hoover, C.

    2016-02-01

    The Beaufort Sea coastal-marine ecosystem is approximately a 476,000 km2 area in the Arctic Ocean, which extends from -112.5 to -158° longitude to 67.5 to 75° latitude. Within this Arctic Ocean area the United States (Alaskan) indigenous communities of Barrow, Kaktovik, and Nuiqsut, and the Canadian (Northwest Territories) indigenous communities of Aklavik, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Paulatuk, Ulukhaktok, and Sachs Harbour, subsist by harvesting marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates from the Beaufort Sea to provide the majority of their community foods annually. The ecosystem in which the indigenous communities harvest is considered a polar habitat that includes many specialized species, such as polar bears that rely on sea-ice for foraging activities and denning, or ice algae that are attached to the cryosphere. However, the polar habitat has been experiencing a diminishing sea-ice extent, age, and seasonal duration, with concomitant increases in sea surface temperatures (SSTs), since the 1970s. Changes in sea-ice and SST have consequences to the Beaufort Sea coastal-marine ecosystem, which includes animal habitat losses, alterations to trophodynamics, and impacts to subsistence community harvesting. The present study was aimed at capturing trophodynamic changes in the Beaufort Sea coastal-marine ecosystem from 1970 to 2014 using a fitted spatial-temporal model (Ecopath with Ecosim and Ecospace) that utilizes forcing and mediation functions to describe animal/trophodynamic relationships with sea-ice and sea surface temperature, as well as individual community harvesting efforts. Model outputs reveals similar trends in animals population changes (e.g., increasing bowhead whale stock), changes in apex predator diets (e.g., polar bears eating less ringed seal), and changes in animal distributions (e.g., polar bears remaining closer to land over time). The Beaufort Sea model is a dynamic tool for Arctic Ocean natural resource management in the years to come.

  5. Stability in Real Food Webs: Weak Links in Long Loops

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neutel, Anje-Margriet; Heesterbeek, Johan A. P.; de Ruiter, Peter C.

    2002-05-01

    Increasing evidence that the strengths of interactions among populations in biological communities form patterns that are crucial for system stability requires clarification of the precise form of these patterns, how they come about, and why they influence stability. We show that in real food webs, interaction strengths are organized in trophic loops in such a way that long loops contain relatively many weak links. We show and explain mathematically that this patterning enhances stability, because it reduces maximum ``loop weight'' and thus reduces the amount of intraspecific interaction needed for matrix stability. The patterns are brought about by biomass pyramids, a feature common to most ecosystems. Incorporation of biomass pyramids in 104 food-web descriptions reveals that the low weight of the long loops stabilizes complex food webs. Loop-weight analysis could be a useful tool for exploring the structure and organization of complex communities.

  6. Functional group diversity increases with modularity in complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Montoya, D; Yallop, M L; Memmott, J

    2015-06-10

    Biodiversity increases the ability of ecosystems to provide multiple functions. Most studies report a positive relationship between species richness and the number of ecosystem functions. However, it is not known whether the number of functional groups is related to the structure of the underlying species interaction network. Here we present food web data from 115 salt marsh islands and show that network structure is associated with the number of functional groups present. Functional group diversity is heterogeneously distributed across spatial scales, with some islands hosting more functional groups than others. Functional groups form modules within the community so that food webs with more modular architectures have more functional group diversity. Further, in communities with different interaction types, modularity can be seen as the multifunctional equivalent of trophic complementarity. Collectively, these findings reveal spatial heterogeneity in the number of functional groups that emerges from patterns in the structure of the food web.

  7. Functional group diversity increases with modularity in complex food webs

    PubMed Central

    Montoya, D.; Yallop, M.L.; Memmott, J.

    2015-01-01

    Biodiversity increases the ability of ecosystems to provide multiple functions. Most studies report a positive relationship between species richness and the number of ecosystem functions. However, it is not known whether the number of functional groups is related to the structure of the underlying species interaction network. Here we present food web data from 115 salt marsh islands and show that network structure is associated with the number of functional groups present. Functional group diversity is heterogeneously distributed across spatial scales, with some islands hosting more functional groups than others. Functional groups form modules within the community so that food webs with more modular architectures have more functional group diversity. Further, in communities with different interaction types, modularity can be seen as the multifunctional equivalent of trophic complementarity. Collectively, these findings reveal spatial heterogeneity in the number of functional groups that emerges from patterns in the structure of the food web. PMID:26059871

  8. Food web dynamics in a seasonally varying wetland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Trexler, J.C.; Donalson, D.D.

    2008-01-01

    A spatially explicit model is developed to simulate the small fish community and its underlying food web, in the freshwater marshes of the Everglades. The community is simplified to a few small fish species feeding on periphyton and invertebrates. Other compartments are detritus, crayfish, and a piscivorous fish species. This unit food web model is applied to each of the 10,000 spatial cells on a 100 x 100 pixel landscape. Seasonal variation in water level is assumed and rules are assigned for fish movement in response to rising and falling water levels, which can cause many spatial cells to alternate between flooded and dry conditions. It is shown that temporal variations of water level on a spatially heterogeneous landscape can maintain at least three competing fish species. In addition, these environmental factors can strongly affect the temporal variation of the food web caused by top-down control from the piscivorous fish.

  9. The interplay between population stability and food-web topology predicts the occurrence of motifs in complex food-webs.

    PubMed

    Monteiro, Angelo B; Faria, Lucas Del Bianco

    2016-11-21

    In this paper, we analyzed the occurrence of motifs (modules) in empirical food-webs from different ecosystem types. Differently from previous studies, our analysis did not relied on randomized networks with specific a priori assumptions, which has been demonstrated to produce inconsistent patterns. We aimed to evaluate the interplay between population dynamics and food-web topology, and its consequences to module occurrences in complex food-webs. We evaluated 13 arrangements of three-species modules and 199 arrangements of four-species modules. For each module, we assembled, a corresponding Jacobian predation matrix, and evaluated the arrangements expected to persist after a disturbance in the equilibrium of the populations dynamics (local stability). Our general results were that (1) a limited set of stable arrangements occurs most frequently; (2) the omnivory module is the only three-species module expected to occur both in the stable and unstable region; (3) connectance and omnivory affects the proportion of stable modules; and (4) the type of ecosystem influence the proportion of stable modules. Further, we demonstrated that food-web topology and population dynamics influenced module occurrences in natural communities; presented a function for the ways that local stability increases the probability of module occurrence; and highlighted the use of omnivory degree to access the effect of feeding at more than one trophic level on food-web stability.

  10. Tracing food webs with stable hydrogen isotopes.

    PubMed

    Estep, M F; Dabrowski, H

    1980-09-26

    The hydrogen isotopic content of an animal's food, not water, determines that animal's hydrogen isotopic content. Liver and muscle tissue from mice reared on a diet such that the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen (DIH) of their food and water was kept constant, have the same average D/H ratio as the food source. In a simple, natural population of snails and their possible algal diets, Littorina obtusata (northern Atlantic intertidal snails that feed almost exclusively on the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus) has the same D/H ratio as Fucus vesiculosis and not that of the other algae available to the snails.

  11. Egg boons: central components of marine fatty acid food webs.

    PubMed

    Fuiman, Lee A; Connelly, Tara L; Lowerre-Barbieri, Susan K; McClelland, James W

    2015-02-01

    Food web relationships are traditionally defined in terms of the flow of key elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and their role in limiting production. There is growing recognition that availability of important biomolecules, such as fatty acids, may exert controls on secondary production that are not easily explained by traditional element-oriented models. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required by most organisms for proper physiological function but are manufactured almost entirely by primary producers. Therefore, the flow of EFAs, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and arachidonic acid (ARA), through aquatic food webs is critical for ecosystem functioning. A meta-analysis of data on the EFA content of marine organisms reveals that individual eggs of marine animals have exceptionally high concentrations of EFAs, and that superabundances of eggs released in temporally and spatially discrete patches create rich, but temporary, nutritional resources for egg predators, called "egg boons." Mortality rates of fish eggs are disproportionately higher than animals of similar size, and those eggs are consumed by predators, both larger and smaller than the adults that produce the eggs. Thus, egg boons are a major trophic pathway through which EFAs are repackaged and redistributed, and they are among the few pathways that run counter to the main direction of trophic flow. Egg boons can transport EFAs across ecosystems through advection of patches of eggs and spawning migrations of adults. Recognizing the significance of egg boons to aquatic food webs reveals linkages and feedbacks between organisms and environments that have important implications for understanding how food webs vary in time and space. Examples are given of top-down, bottom-up, and lateral control mechanisms that could significantly alter food webs through their effects on eggs. Our results suggest that trophodynamic food web models should include EFAs

  12. Food-web structure in relation to environmental gradients and predator-prey ratios in tank-bromeliad ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests.

  13. Food-Web Structure in Relation to Environmental Gradients and Predator-Prey Ratios in Tank-Bromeliad Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Dézerald, Olivier; Leroy, Céline; Corbara, Bruno; Carrias, Jean-François; Pélozuelo, Laurent; Dejean, Alain; Céréghino, Régis

    2013-01-01

    Little is known of how linkage patterns between species change along environmental gradients. The small, spatially discrete food webs inhabiting tank-bromeliads provide an excellent opportunity to analyse patterns of community diversity and food-web topology (connectance, linkage density, nestedness) in relation to key environmental variables (habitat size, detrital resource, incident radiation) and predators:prey ratios. We sampled 365 bromeliads in a wide range of understorey environments in French Guiana and used gut contents of invertebrates to draw the corresponding 365 connectance webs. At the bromeliad scale, habitat size (water volume) determined the number of species that constitute food-web nodes, the proportion of predators, and food-web topology. The number of species as well as the proportion of predators within bromeliads declined from open to forested habitats, where the volume of water collected by bromeliads was generally lower because of rainfall interception by the canopy. A core group of microorganisms and generalist detritivores remained relatively constant across environments. This suggests that (i) a highly-connected core ensures food-web stability and key ecosystem functions across environments, and (ii) larger deviations in food-web structures can be expected following disturbance if detritivores share traits that determine responses to environmental changes. While linkage density and nestedness were lower in bromeliads in the forest than in open areas, experiments are needed to confirm a trend for lower food-web stability in the understorey of primary forests. PMID:23977128

  14. Production and food web efficiency decrease as fishing activity increases in a coastal ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anh, Pham Viet; Everaert, Gert; Goethals, Peter; Vinh, Chu Tien; De Laender, Frederik

    2015-11-01

    Fishing effort in the Vietnamese coastal ecosystem has rapidly increased from the 1990s to the 2000s, with unknown consequences for local ecosystem structure and functioning. Using ecosystem models that integrate fisheries and food webs we found profound differences in the production of six functional groups, the food web efficiency, and eight functional food web indices between the 1990s (low fishing intensity) and the 2000s (high fishing intensity). The functional attributes (e.g. consumption) of high trophic levels (e.g. predators) were lower in the 2000s than in the 1990s while primary production did not vary, causing food web efficiency to decrease up to 40% with time for these groups. The opposite was found for lower trophic levels (e.g. zooplankton): the functional attributes and food web efficiency increased with time (22 and 10% for the functional attributes and food web efficiency, respectively). Total system throughput, a functional food web index, was about 10% higher in the 1990s than in the 2000s, indicating a reduction of the system size and activity with time. The network analyses further indicated that the Vietnamese coastal ecosystem in the 1990s was more developed (higher ascendancy and capacity), more stable (higher overhead) and more mature (higher ratio of ascendancy and capacity) than in the 2000s. In the 1990s the recovery time of the ecosystem was shorter than in 2000s, as indicated by a higher Finn's cycling index in the 1990s (7.8 and 6.5% in 1990s and 2000s, respectively). Overall, our results demonstrate that the Vietnamese coastal ecosystem has experienced profound changes between the 1990s and 2000s, and emphasise the need for a closer inspection of the ecological impact of fishing.

  15. Food caching in orb-web spiders (Araneae: Araneoidea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Champion de Crespigny, Fleur E.; Herberstein, Marie E.; Elgar, Mark A.

    2001-01-01

    Caching or storing surplus prey may reduce the risk of starvation during periods of food deprivation. While this behaviour occurs in a variety of birds and mammals, it is infrequent among invertebrates. However, golden orb-web spiders, Nephila edulis, incorporate a prey cache in their relatively permanent web, which they feed on during periods of food shortage. Heavier spiders significantly reduced weight loss if they were able to access a cache, but lost weight if the cache was removed. The presence or absence of stored prey had no effect on the weight loss of lighter spiders. Furthermore, N. edulis always attacked new prey, irrespective of the number of unprocessed prey in the web. In contrast, females of Argiope keyserlingi, who build a new web every day and do not cache prey, attacked fewer new prey items if some had already been caught. Thus, a necessary pre-adaptation to the evolution of prey caching in orb-web spiders may be a durable or permanent web, such as that constructed by Nephila.

  16. Lateral cascade of indirect effects in food webs with different types of adaptive behavior.

    PubMed

    Kamran-Disfani, Ahmad R; Golubski, Antonio J

    2013-12-21

    It is widely recognized that indirect effects due to adaptive behaviors can have important effects on food webs. One consequence may be to change how readily perturbations propagate through the web, because species' behaviors as well as densities may respond to perturbations. It is not well understood which types of behavior are more likely to facilitate versus inhibit propagation of disturbances through a food web, or how this might be affected by the shape of a food web or the patterns of interaction strengths within it. We model two simple, laterally expanded food webs (one with three trophic levels and one with four), and compare how various adaptive behaviors affect the potential for a newly introduced predator to change the equilibrium densities of distant species. Patterns of changes in response to the introduction were qualitatively similar across most models, as were the ways in which patterns of direct interaction strengths affected those responses. Depending on both the web structure and the specific adaptive behavior, the potential for density changes to propagate through the web could be either increased or diminished relative to the no-behavior model. Two behaviors allowed density changes to propagate through a four-level web that precluded such propagation in the no-behavior model, and each of these two behaviors led to qualitatively different patterns of density changes. In the one model (diet choice) in which density changes were able to propagate in both web structures, patterns of density changes differed qualitatively between webs. Some of our results flowed from the fact that behaviors did not interact directly in the systems we considered, so that indirect effects on distant species had to be at least partly density-mediated. Our models highlight this as an inherent limitation of considering in isolation behaviors that are strictly foraging-related or strictly defense-related, making a case for the value of simultaneously considering multiple

  17. Species Richness and Trophic Diversity Increase Decomposition in a Co-Evolved Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Baiser, Benjamin; Ardeshiri, Roxanne S.; Ellison, Aaron M.

    2011-01-01

    Ecological communities show great variation in species richness, composition and food web structure across similar and diverse ecosystems. Knowledge of how this biodiversity relates to ecosystem functioning is important for understanding the maintenance of diversity and the potential effects of species losses and gains on ecosystems. While research often focuses on how variation in species richness influences ecosystem processes, assessing species richness in a food web context can provide further insight into the relationship between diversity and ecosystem functioning and elucidate potential mechanisms underpinning this relationship. Here, we assessed how species richness and trophic diversity affect decomposition rates in a complete aquatic food web: the five trophic level web that occurs within water-filled leaves of the northern pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea. We identified a trophic cascade in which top-predators — larvae of the pitcher-plant mosquito — indirectly increased bacterial decomposition by preying on bactivorous protozoa. Our data also revealed a facultative relationship in which larvae of the pitcher-plant midge increased bacterial decomposition by shredding detritus. These important interactions occur only in food webs with high trophic diversity, which in turn only occur in food webs with high species richness. We show that species richness and trophic diversity underlie strong linkages between food web structure and dynamics that influence ecosystem functioning. The importance of trophic diversity and species interactions in determining how biodiversity relates to ecosystem functioning suggests that simply focusing on species richness does not give a complete picture as to how ecosystems may change with the loss or gain of species. PMID:21673992

  18. A new modeling approach to define marine ecosystems food-web status with uncertainty assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chaalali, Aurélie; Saint-Béat, Blanche; Lassalle, Géraldine; Le Loc'h, François; Tecchio, Samuele; Safi, Georges; Savenkoff, Claude; Lobry, Jérémy; Niquil, Nathalie

    2015-06-01

    Ecosystem models are currently one of the most powerful approaches used to project and analyse the consequences of anthropogenic and climate-driven changes in food web structure and function. The modeling community is however still finding the effective representation of microbial processes as challenging and lacks of techniques for assessing flow uncertainty explicitly. A linear inverse model of the Bay of Biscay continental shelf was built using a Monte Carlo method coupled with a Markov Chain (LIM-MCMC) to characterize the system's trophic food-web status and its associated structural and functional properties. By taking into account the natural variability of ecosystems (and their associated flows) and the lack of data on these environments, this innovative approach enabled the quantification of uncertainties for both estimated flows and derived food-web indices. This uncertainty assessment constituted a real improvement on the existing Ecopath model for the same area and both models results were compared. Our results suggested a food web characterized by main flows at the basis of the food web and a high contribution of primary producers and detritus to the entire system input flows. The developmental stage of the ecosystem was characterized using estimated Ecological Network Analysis (ENA) indices; the LIM-MCMC produced a higher estimate of flow specialization (than the estimate from Ecopath) owing to better consideration of bacterial processes. The results also pointed to a detritus-based food-web with a web-like structure and an intermediate level of internal flow complexity, confirming the results of previous studies. Other current research on ecosystem model comparability is also presented.

  19. BENTHOS AS THE BASIS FOR ARCTIC FOOD WEBS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Plankton have traditionally been viewed as the basis for limnetic food webs, with zooplankton acting as a gateway for energy passing between phytoplanktonic primary producers and fish. Often, benthic production is considered to be important primarily in shallow systems or as a su...

  20. Building trophic modules into a persistent food web

    PubMed Central

    Kondoh, Michio

    2008-01-01

    Understanding what maintains species and perpetuates their coexistence in a network of feeding relationships (the food web) is of great importance for biodiversity conservation. A food web can be viewed as consisting of a number of simple subunits called trophic modules. Intraguild predation (IGP), in which a prey and its predator compete for the same resource, is one of the best-studied trophic modules. According to theory, there are two ways to yield a large persistent system from such modules: (i) to use persistent subunits as building blocks or (ii) to arrange the subunits in a way that externally supports the nonpersistent subunits. Here, I show that the complex food web of the Caribbean marine ecosystem is constructed in both ways. I show that IGP modules, which convey internal persistence because of the fact that prey are superior competitors for the resources, are overrepresented in the Caribbean ecosystem. The other modules, consisting of competitively inferior prey, are not persistent in isolation. However, competitively inferior prey in these modules tend to receive more advantage from extra-module interactions, which allows persistence of the IGP module. In addition, those exterior interactions tend to be provided by intrinsically persistent IGP modules to prevent cascading extinction of interacting IGP modules. The food web can be viewed as a set of interacting modules, nonrandomly arranged to enhance the maintenance of biodiversity. PMID:18936484

  1. Building trophic modules into a persistent food web.

    PubMed

    Kondoh, Michio

    2008-10-28

    Understanding what maintains species and perpetuates their coexistence in a network of feeding relationships (the food web) is of great importance for biodiversity conservation. A food web can be viewed as consisting of a number of simple subunits called trophic modules. Intraguild predation (IGP), in which a prey and its predator compete for the same resource, is one of the best-studied trophic modules. According to theory, there are two ways to yield a large persistent system from such modules: (i) to use persistent subunits as building blocks or (ii) to arrange the subunits in a way that externally supports the nonpersistent subunits. Here, I show that the complex food web of the Caribbean marine ecosystem is constructed in both ways. I show that IGP modules, which convey internal persistence because of the fact that prey are superior competitors for the resources, are overrepresented in the Caribbean ecosystem. The other modules, consisting of competitively inferior prey, are not persistent in isolation. However, competitively inferior prey in these modules tend to receive more advantage from extra-module interactions, which allows persistence of the IGP module. In addition, those exterior interactions tend to be provided by intrinsically persistent IGP modules to prevent cascading extinction of interacting IGP modules. The food web can be viewed as a set of interacting modules, nonrandomly arranged to enhance the maintenance of biodiversity.

  2. Using a Simulation To Teach Food Web Dynamics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rueter, John G.; Perrin, Nancy A.

    1999-01-01

    Reports on research that tested the effect of using a computer simulation to teach the concept of a food web to nonbiology majors in a large introductory course. Concludes that the use of the simulation resulted in significantly better performance on an open-ended essay question for those students who used the software, particularly for average…

  3. Methylmercury biomagnification in an Arctic pelagic food web.

    PubMed

    Ruus, Anders; Øverjordet, Ida B; Braaten, Hans Fredrik V; Evenset, Anita; Christensen, Guttorm; Heimstad, Eldbjørg S; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Borgå, Katrine

    2015-11-01

    Mercury (Hg) is a toxic element that enters the biosphere from natural and anthropogenic sources, and emitted gaseous Hg enters the Arctic from lower latitudes by long-range transport. In aquatic systems, anoxic conditions favor the bacterial transformation of inorganic Hg to methylmercury (MeHg), which has a greater potential for bioaccumulation than inorganic Hg and is the most toxic form of Hg. The main objective of the present study was to quantify the biomagnification of MeHg in a marine pelagic food web, comprising species of zooplankton, fish, and seabirds, from the Kongsfjorden system (Svalbard, Norway), by use of trophic magnification factors. As expected, tissue concentrations of MeHg increased with increasing trophic level in the food web, though at greater rates than observed in several earlier studies, especially at lower latitudes. There was strong correlation between MeHg and total Hg concentrations through the food web as a whole. The concentration of MeHg in kittiwake decreased from May to October, contributing to seasonal differences in trophic magnification factors. The ecology and physiology of the species comprising the food web in question may have a large influence on the magnitude of the biomagnification. A significant linear relationship was also observed between concentrations of selenium and total Hg in birds but not in zooplankton, suggesting the importance of selenium in Hg detoxification for individuals with high Hg concentrations.

  4. Food Webs and Environmental Disturbance: What's the Connection?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ford, Bob; Smith, Bruce M.

    1994-01-01

    Two professors assert that it is not enough to simply tell students that all living organisms are mutually dependent. Describes an activity that allows students to become members of a food web and results in a greater understanding of and appreciation for the interdependencies of living things. Ideas for extension are provided. (ZWH)

  5. Unravelling the Food Web: Dietary Analysis in Modern Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Calver, M. C.; Porter, B. D.

    1986-01-01

    Presents information that gives a methodological background to the concept of food webs. Stresses the importance of calibrated techniques in ecological research and explains direct methods for studying animal diets. Exercises for gathering first-hand data on bird diets and analyzing secondary data on mammal diets are suggested. (ML)

  6. Using a Simulation To Teach Food Web Dynamics.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rueter, John G.; Perrin, Nancy A.

    1999-01-01

    Reports on research that tested the effect of using a computer simulation to teach the concept of a food web to nonbiology majors in a large introductory course. Concludes that the use of the simulation resulted in significantly better performance on an open-ended essay question for those students who used the software, particularly for average…

  7. Unravelling the Food Web: Dietary Analysis in Modern Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Calver, M. C.; Porter, B. D.

    1986-01-01

    Presents information that gives a methodological background to the concept of food webs. Stresses the importance of calibrated techniques in ecological research and explains direct methods for studying animal diets. Exercises for gathering first-hand data on bird diets and analyzing secondary data on mammal diets are suggested. (ML)

  8. Food Webs and Environmental Disturbance: What's the Connection?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ford, Bob; Smith, Bruce M.

    1994-01-01

    Two professors assert that it is not enough to simply tell students that all living organisms are mutually dependent. Describes an activity that allows students to become members of a food web and results in a greater understanding of and appreciation for the interdependencies of living things. Ideas for extension are provided. (ZWH)

  9. BENTHOS AS THE BASIS FOR ARCTIC FOOD WEBS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Plankton have traditionally been viewed as the basis for limnetic food webs, with zooplankton acting as a gateway for energy passing between phytoplanktonic primary producers and fish. Often, benthic production is considered to be important primarily in shallow systems or as a su...

  10. Ecosystem Food Web Lift-The-Flap Pages

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Atwood-Blaine, Dana; Rule, Audrey C.; Morgan, Hannah

    In the lesson on which this practical article is based, third grade students constructed a "lift-the-flap" page to explore food webs on the prairie. The moveable papercraft focused student attention on prairie animals' external structures and how the inferred functions of those structures could support further inferences about the…

  11. Understanding food webs in the Chesapeake Bay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keough, J.R.; Haramis, G.M.; Perry, M.C.; Perry, M.C.

    2002-01-01

    Approaches to predictive modeling and to management of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem are 'bottom up' (i.e., approaches involve the control of nutrient inputs in attempts to manage plankton productivity) and 'top down' (i.e., approaches involve controls on harvest of fisheries and wildlife in attempts to manage vertebrate populations). Both approaches are limited by a lack of understanding of trophic connections between nutrient inputs, primary producers, and higher trophic level consumers. This project is aimed at identifying trophic structure for the submersed aquatic vegetation habitat of the Chesapeake Bay. We are employing analysis of stable isotope ratios of plant and animal tissues to identify trophic levels and traditional food habits analysis to identify the foods of a number of species of waterfowl.

  12. FOOD WEB STRUCTURE AS A POTENTIAL INDICATOR OF NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Analyses of the food webs of Great Lakes coastal wetlands verify the role of algae as an energetic foundation, and also suggest that fundamental changes occur in response to both natural and anthropogenic influences. We analyzed coastal wetlands with a range of nutrient concentra...

  13. NATURAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC FACTORS INFLUENCING FOOD WEB STRUCTURE IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We are investigating factors governing the biological organization of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Food web analyses using stable isotope techniques verify the role of algae as an energetic foundation, and also suggest that fundamental changes occur as a result of anthropogenic ...

  14. Effects of lake acidification and recovery on the stability of zooplankton food webs

    SciTech Connect

    Locke, A. ); Sprules, W.G. )

    1994-03-01

    The effect of food web structure on community stability and resilience has rarely been examined using empirical data. Yet there is a practical application for such studies insofar as resistance stability determines the ability of a system to adsorb' anthropogenic stress and adjustment stability determines the reversibility of resulting damage. The stability of zooplankton food webs in 46 Precambrian Shield lakes was examined using data collected in the 1970s, when pH ranged from 3.8 to 7.0, and in 1990, when pH had increased by up to two units in some lakes. Acidification overcame resistance stability at pH <5.0, as evidenced by decreases in species richness, numbers of predatory and competitive links, directed connectance, predator generalization, and linkage density, identified by analysis of variance. Adjustment stability was demonstrated by changes in food web attributes in lakes with higher pH in 1990 than in the 1970s. Species richness, numbers of predatory and competitive links, linkage density, and predator generalization all increased relative to the 1970s values. Food web attributes of recovering' lakes were statistically indistinguishable from those of lakes of similar pH that had not been more acidic in the 1970s. Similar trajectors of food web change were followed during environmental degradation and recovery. Planktonic food webs of anthropogenically acidified lakes may eventually recover to resemble their pre-acidification condition, given sufficient time without acidic inputs. Whether adjustment stability is a general feature of anthropogenically stressed systems remains to be determined. 42 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs.

  15. Mixotrophy and intraguild predation - dynamic consequences of shifts between food web motifs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Karnatak, Rajat; Wollrab, Sabine

    2017-06-01

    Mixotrophy is ubiquitous in microbial communities of aquatic systems with many flagellates being able to use autotroph as well as heterotroph pathways for energy acquisition. The usage of one over the other pathway is associated with resource availability and the coupling of alternative pathways has strong implications for system stability. We investigated the impact of dominance of different energy pathways related to relative resource availability on system dynamics in the setting of a tritrophic food web motif. This motif consists of a mixotroph feeding on a purely autotroph species while competing for a shared resource. In addition, the autotroph can use an additional exclusive food source. By changing the relative abundance of shared vs. exclusive food source, we shift the food web motif from an intraguild predation motif to a food chain motif. We analyzed the dependence of system dynamics on absolute and relative resource availability. In general, the system exhibits a transition from stable to oscillatory dynamics with increasing nutrient availability. However, this transition occurs at a much lower nutrient level for the food chain in comparison to the intraguild predation motif. A similar transition is also observed with variations in the relative abundance of food sources for a range of nutrient levels. We expect this shift in food web motifs to occur frequently in microbial communities and therefore the results from our study are highly relevant for natural systems.

  16. Assimilation of diazotrophic nitrogen into pelagic food webs.

    PubMed

    Woodland, Ryan J; Holland, Daryl P; Beardall, John; Smith, Jonathan; Scicluna, Todd; Cook, Perran L M

    2013-01-01

    The fate of diazotrophic nitrogen (N(D)) fixed by planktonic cyanobacteria in pelagic food webs remains unresolved, particularly for toxic cyanophytes that are selectively avoided by most herbivorous zooplankton. Current theory suggests that N(D) fixed during cyanobacterial blooms can enter planktonic food webs contemporaneously with peak bloom biomass via direct grazing of zooplankton on cyanobacteria or via the uptake of bioavailable N(D) (exuded from viable cyanobacterial cells) by palatable phytoplankton or microbial consortia. Alternatively, N(D) can enter planktonic food webs post-bloom following the remineralization of bloom detritus. Although the relative contribution of these processes to planktonic nutrient cycles is unknown, we hypothesized that assimilation of bioavailable N(D) (e.g., nitrate, ammonium) by palatable phytoplankton and subsequent grazing by zooplankton (either during or after the cyanobacterial bloom) would be the primary pathway by which N(D) was incorporated into the planktonic food web. Instead, in situ stable isotope measurements and grazing experiments clearly documented that the assimilation of N(D) by zooplankton outpaced assimilation by palatable phytoplankton during a bloom of toxic Nodularia spumigena Mertens. We identified two distinct temporal phases in the trophic transfer of N(D) from N. spumigena to the plankton community. The first phase was a highly dynamic transfer of N(D) to zooplankton with rates that covaried with bloom biomass while bypassing other phytoplankton taxa; a trophic transfer that we infer was routed through bloom-associated bacteria. The second phase was a slowly accelerating assimilation of the dissolved-N(D) pool by phytoplankton that was decoupled from contemporaneous variability in N. spumigena concentrations. These findings provide empirical evidence that N(D) can be assimilated and transferred rapidly throughout natural plankton communities and yield insights into the specific processes underlying

  17. Assimilation of Diazotrophic Nitrogen into Pelagic Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Woodland, Ryan J.; Holland, Daryl P.; Beardall, John; Smith, Jonathan; Scicluna, Todd; Cook, Perran L. M.

    2013-01-01

    The fate of diazotrophic nitrogen (ND) fixed by planktonic cyanobacteria in pelagic food webs remains unresolved, particularly for toxic cyanophytes that are selectively avoided by most herbivorous zooplankton. Current theory suggests that ND fixed during cyanobacterial blooms can enter planktonic food webs contemporaneously with peak bloom biomass via direct grazing of zooplankton on cyanobacteria or via the uptake of bioavailable ND (exuded from viable cyanobacterial cells) by palatable phytoplankton or microbial consortia. Alternatively, ND can enter planktonic food webs post-bloom following the remineralization of bloom detritus. Although the relative contribution of these processes to planktonic nutrient cycles is unknown, we hypothesized that assimilation of bioavailable ND (e.g., nitrate, ammonium) by palatable phytoplankton and subsequent grazing by zooplankton (either during or after the cyanobacterial bloom) would be the primary pathway by which ND was incorporated into the planktonic food web. Instead, in situ stable isotope measurements and grazing experiments clearly documented that the assimilation of ND by zooplankton outpaced assimilation by palatable phytoplankton during a bloom of toxic Nodularia spumigena Mertens. We identified two distinct temporal phases in the trophic transfer of ND from N. spumigena to the plankton community. The first phase was a highly dynamic transfer of ND to zooplankton with rates that covaried with bloom biomass while bypassing other phytoplankton taxa; a trophic transfer that we infer was routed through bloom-associated bacteria. The second phase was a slowly accelerating assimilation of the dissolved-ND pool by phytoplankton that was decoupled from contemporaneous variability in N. spumigena concentrations. These findings provide empirical evidence that ND can be assimilated and transferred rapidly throughout natural plankton communities and yield insights into the specific processes underlying the propagation of ND

  18. Dynamics in a three species food-web system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, K.; Gakkhar, S.

    2016-04-01

    In this paper, the dynamics of a three species food-web system is discussed. The food-web comprises of one predator and two logistically growing competing species. The predator species is taking food from one of the competitors with Holling type II functional response. Another competitor is the amensal species for the predator of first species. The system is shown to be positive and bounded. The stability of various axial points, boundary points and interior point has been investigated. The persistence of the system has been studied. Numerical simulation has been performed to show the occurrence of Hopf bifurcation and stable limit cycle about the interior point. The presence of second competitor and its interaction with predator gives more complex dynamics than the simple prey-predator system. The existence of transcritical bifurcation has been established about two axial points. The existence of periodic attractor having period-2 solution has been shown, when amensal coefficient is chosen as bifurcation parameter.

  19. URBANIZATION ALTERS FATTY ACID CONCENTRATIONS OF STREAM FOOD WEBS IN THE NARRAGANSETT BAY WATERSHED

    EPA Science Inventory

    Urbanization and associated human activities negatively affect stream algal and invertebrate assemblages, likely altering food webs. Our goal was to determine if urbanization affects food web essential fatty acids (EFAs) and if EFAs could be useful ecological indicators in monito...

  20. Designing an Illustrated Food Web to Teach Ecological Concepts: Challenges and Solutions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Godkin, Celia M.

    1999-01-01

    Argues that food webs are an efficient method through which to communicate the core idea of ecology--that all living things are interconnected. Assesses the challenges and solutions to using illustrated food webs. (Author/CCM)

  1. Designing an Illustrated Food Web to Teach Ecological Concepts: Challenges and Solutions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Godkin, Celia M.

    1999-01-01

    Argues that food webs are an efficient method through which to communicate the core idea of ecology--that all living things are interconnected. Assesses the challenges and solutions to using illustrated food webs. (Author/CCM)

  2. URBANIZATION ALTERS FATTY ACID CONCENTRATIONS OF STREAM FOOD WEBS IN THE NARRAGANSETT BAY WATERSHED

    EPA Science Inventory

    Urbanization and associated human activities negatively affect stream algal and invertebrate assemblages, likely altering food webs. Our goal was to determine if urbanization affects food web essential fatty acids (EFAs) and if EFAs could be useful ecological indicators in monito...

  3. DEVELOPMENT OF A STREAM FOOD WEB MODEL CONSTRAINED BY STABLE ISOTOPE DATA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Traditional stream food web studies provide static models of trophic structures. These models provide information about interspecific relationships, but not about material flows through food webs. Traditional ecosystem models developed from budgets or tracers provide quantitative...

  4. DEVELOPMENT OF A STREAM FOOD WEB MODEL CONSTRAINED BY STABLE ISOTOPE DATA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Traditional stream food web studies provide static models of trophic structures. These models provide information about interspecific relationships, but not about material flows through food webs. Traditional ecosystem models developed from budgets or tracers provide quantitative...

  5. Global Climate Change Interaction Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fortner, Rosanne W.

    1998-01-01

    Students investigate the effects of global climate change on life in the Great Lakes region in this activity. Teams working together construct as many links as possible for such factors as rainfall, lake water, evaporation, skiing, zebra mussels, wetlands, shipping, walleye, toxic chemicals, coastal homes, and population. (PVD)

  6. Global Climate Change Interaction Web.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fortner, Rosanne W.

    1998-01-01

    Students investigate the effects of global climate change on life in the Great Lakes region in this activity. Teams working together construct as many links as possible for such factors as rainfall, lake water, evaporation, skiing, zebra mussels, wetlands, shipping, walleye, toxic chemicals, coastal homes, and population. (PVD)

  7. Food webs and carbon flux in the Barents Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wassmann, Paul; Reigstad, Marit; Haug, Tore; Rudels, Bert; Carroll, Michael L.; Hop, Haakon; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Falk-Petersen, Stig; Denisenko, Stanislav G.; Arashkevich, Elena; Slagstad, Dag; Pavlova, Olga

    2006-10-01

    Within the framework of the physical forcing, we describe and quantify the key ecosystem components and basic food web structure of the Barents Sea. Emphasis is given to the energy flow through the ecosystem from an end-to-end perspective, i.e. from bacteria, through phytoplankton and zooplankton to fish, mammals and birds. Primary production in the Barents is on average 93 g C m -2 y -1, but interannually highly variable (±19%), responding to climate variability and change (e.g. variations in Atlantic Water inflow, the position of the ice edge and low-pressure pathways). The traditional focus upon large phytoplankton cells in polar regions seems less adequate in the Barents, as the cell carbon in the pelagic is most often dominated by small cells that are entangled in an efficient microbial loop that appears to be well coupled to the grazing food web. Primary production in the ice-covered waters of the Barents is clearly dominated by planktonic algae and the supply of ice biota by local production or advection is small. The pelagic-benthic coupling is strong, in particular in the marginal ice zone. In total 80% of the harvestable production is channelled through the deep-water communities and benthos. 19% of the harvestable production is grazed by the dominating copepods Calanus finmarchicus and C. glacialis in Atlantic or Arctic Water, respectively. These two species, in addition to capelin ( Mallotus villosus) and herring ( Clupea harengus), are the keystone organisms in the Barents that create the basis for the rich assemblage of higher trophic level organisms, facilitating one of the worlds largest fisheries (capelin, cod, shrimps, seals and whales). Less than 1% of the harvestable production is channelled through the most dominating higher trophic levels such as cod, harp seals, minke whales and sea birds. Atlantic cod, seals, whales, birds and man compete for harvestable energy with similar shares. Climate variability and change, differences in recruitment

  8. Governor's Schools: Spinning Webs for Educational Change.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wolfe, Delores M.; And Others

    1991-01-01

    "Teacher Recognition Day" was instituted by the Virginia Governor's Schools for the Humanities and the Visual and Performing Arts to honor home school teachers, increase understanding of the Governor's School Program, and develop a supportive web wherein students' changes are seen by home school teachers to be assets rather than…

  9. Food Web Designer: a flexible tool to visualize interaction networks.

    PubMed

    Sint, Daniela; Traugott, Michael

    Species are embedded in complex networks of ecological interactions and assessing these networks provides a powerful approach to understand what the consequences of these interactions are for ecosystem functioning and services. This is mandatory to develop and evaluate strategies for the management and control of pests. Graphical representations of networks can help recognize patterns that might be overlooked otherwise. However, there is a lack of software which allows visualizing these complex interaction networks. Food Web Designer is a stand-alone, highly flexible and user friendly software tool to quantitatively visualize trophic and other types of bipartite and tripartite interaction networks. It is offered free of charge for use on Microsoft Windows platforms. Food Web Designer is easy to use without the need to learn a specific syntax due to its graphical user interface. Up to three (trophic) levels can be connected using links cascading from or pointing towards the taxa within each level to illustrate top-down and bottom-up connections. Link width/strength and abundance of taxa can be quantified, allowing generating fully quantitative networks. Network datasets can be imported, saved for later adjustment and the interaction webs can be exported as pictures for graphical display in different file formats. We show how Food Web Designer can be used to draw predator-prey and host-parasitoid food webs, demonstrating that this software is a simple and straightforward tool to graphically display interaction networks for assessing pest control or any other type of interaction in both managed and natural ecosystems from an ecological network perspective.

  10. Highly resolved early Eocene food webs show development of modern trophic structure after the end-Cretaceous extinction.

    PubMed

    Dunne, Jennifer A; Labandeira, Conrad C; Williams, Richard J

    2014-05-07

    Generalities of food web structure have been identified for extant ecosystems. However, the trophic organization of ancient ecosystems is unresolved, as prior studies of fossil webs have been limited by low-resolution, high-uncertainty data. We compiled highly resolved, well-documented feeding interaction data for 700 taxa from the 48 million-year-old latest early Eocene Messel Shale, which contains a species assemblage that developed after an interval of protracted environmental and biotal change during and following the end-Cretaceous extinction. We compared the network structure of Messel lake and forest food webs to extant webs using analyses that account for scale dependence of structure with diversity and complexity. The Messel lake web, with 94 taxa, displays unambiguous similarities in structure to extant webs. While the Messel forest web, with 630 taxa, displays differences compared to extant webs, they appear to result from high diversity and resolution of insect-plant interactions, rather than substantive differences in structure. The evidence presented here suggests that modern trophic organization developed along with the modern Messel biota during an 18 Myr interval of dramatic post-extinction change. Our study also has methodological implications, as the Messel forest web analysis highlights limitations of current food web data and models.

  11. Highly resolved early Eocene food webs show development of modern trophic structure after the end-Cretaceous extinction

    PubMed Central

    Dunne, Jennifer A.; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Williams, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Generalities of food web structure have been identified for extant ecosystems. However, the trophic organization of ancient ecosystems is unresolved, as prior studies of fossil webs have been limited by low-resolution, high-uncertainty data. We compiled highly resolved, well-documented feeding interaction data for 700 taxa from the 48 million-year-old latest early Eocene Messel Shale, which contains a species assemblage that developed after an interval of protracted environmental and biotal change during and following the end-Cretaceous extinction. We compared the network structure of Messel lake and forest food webs to extant webs using analyses that account for scale dependence of structure with diversity and complexity. The Messel lake web, with 94 taxa, displays unambiguous similarities in structure to extant webs. While the Messel forest web, with 630 taxa, displays differences compared to extant webs, they appear to result from high diversity and resolution of insect–plant interactions, rather than substantive differences in structure. The evidence presented here suggests that modern trophic organization developed along with the modern Messel biota during an 18 Myr interval of dramatic post-extinction change. Our study also has methodological implications, as the Messel forest web analysis highlights limitations of current food web data and models. PMID:24648225

  12. Designing Industrial Networks Using Ecological Food Web Metrics.

    PubMed

    Layton, Astrid; Bras, Bert; Weissburg, Marc

    2016-10-18

    Biologically Inspired Design (biomimicry) and Industrial Ecology both look to natural systems to enhance the sustainability and performance of engineered products, systems and industries. Bioinspired design (BID) traditionally has focused on a unit operation and single product level. In contrast, this paper describes how principles of network organization derived from analysis of ecosystem properties can be applied to industrial system networks. Specifically, this paper examines the applicability of particular food web matrix properties as design rules for economically and biologically sustainable industrial networks, using an optimization model developed for a carpet recycling network. Carpet recycling network designs based on traditional cost and emissions based optimization are compared to designs obtained using optimizations based solely on ecological food web metrics. The analysis suggests that networks optimized using food web metrics also were superior from a traditional cost and emissions perspective; correlations between optimization using ecological metrics and traditional optimization ranged generally from 0.70 to 0.96, with flow-based metrics being superior to structural parameters. Four structural food parameters provided correlations nearly the same as that obtained using all structural parameters, but individual structural parameters provided much less satisfactory correlations. The analysis indicates that bioinspired design principles from ecosystems can lead to both environmentally and economically sustainable industrial resource networks, and represent guidelines for designing sustainable industry networks.

  13. Food webs and the transmission of parasites to marine fish.

    PubMed

    Marcogliese, D J

    2002-01-01

    Helminth parasites of fish in marine systems are often considered to be generalists, lacking host specificity for both intermediate and definitive hosts. In addition, many parasites in marine waters possess life cycles consisting of long-lived larval stages residing in intermediate and paratenic hosts. These properties are believed to be adaptations to the long food chains and the low densities of organisms distributed over broad spatial scales that are characteristic of open marine systems. Moreover, such properties are predicted to lead to the homogenization of parasite communities among fish species. Yet, these communities can be relatively distinct among marine fishes. For benthos, the heterogeneous horizontal distribution of invertebrates and fish with respect to sediment quality and water depth contributes to the formation of distinct parasite communities. Similarly, for the pelagic realm, vertical partitioning of animals with depth will lead to the segregation of parasites among fish hosts. Within each habitat, resource partitioning in terms of dietary preferences of fish further contributes to the establishment of distinct parasite assemblages. Parasite distributions are predicted to be superimposed on distributional patterns of free-living animals that participate as hosts in parasite life cycles. The purpose of this review is first, to summarize distribution patterns of invertebrates and fish in the marine environment and relate these patterns to helminth transmission. Second, patterns of transmission in marine systems are interpreted in the context of food web structure. Consideration of the structure and dynamics of food webs permits predictions about the distribution and abundance of parasites. Lastly, parasites that influence food web structure by regulating the abundance of dominant host species are briefly considered in addition to the effects of pollution and exploitation on food webs and parasite transmission.

  14. Efficient Web Change Monitoring with Page Digest

    SciTech Connect

    Buttler, D J; Rocco, D; Liu, L

    2004-02-20

    The Internet and the World Wide Web have enabled a publishing explosion of useful online information, which has produced the unfortunate side effect of information overload: it is increasingly difficult for individuals to keep abreast of fresh information. In this paper we describe an approach for building a system for efficiently monitoring changes to Web documents. This paper has three main contributions. First, we present a coherent framework that captures different characteristics of Web documents. The system uses the Page Digest encoding to provide a comprehensive monitoring system for content, structure, and other interesting properties of Web documents. Second, the Page Digest encoding enables improved performance for individual page monitors through mechanisms such as short-circuit evaluation, linear time algorithms for document and structure similarity, and data size reduction. Finally, we develop a collection of sentinel grouping techniques based on the Page Digest encoding to reduce redundant processing in large-scale monitoring systems by grouping similar monitoring requests together. We examine how effective these techniques are over a wide range of parameters and have seen an order of magnitude speed up over existing Web-based information monitoring systems.

  15. The role of cannibalism and contaminant source on bioaccumulation in aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Fraser, Alison J; Cahill, Thomas M; Lasenby, David C; Mackay, Donald; Milford, Lynne

    2005-04-01

    Two aspects of bioaccumulation in an aquatic food web are explored. First, the possible implications of cannibalism, including the scavenging of conspecifics, as a factor influencing food web bioaccumulation and biomagnification are explored by examining the behavior of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in a simple aquatic food web consisting of plankton, juvenile and adult Mysis relicta, Diporeia, and alewife. From an analysis of trophic transfer efficiencies and food consumption rates, it is concluded that, for M. relicta, a maximum extent of cannibalism in a population is about 10%, although certain individuals may be more cannibalistic. The model suggests that cannibalism and scavenging of dead conspecifics generally result in an increase in concentration by self-biomagnification, but the effect is small and unlikely to exceed 5% on the average. Concentration differences also are likely to result from changes in the relative amounts of the dietary components. Highly cannibalistic individuals may achieve higher levels of bioaccumulation. In extreme cases, the food web model becomes mathematically unstable because of excessive feedback of high concentrations. A major implication is that differences in extent of cannibalism and scavenging probably contribute significantly to natural concentration variation in a population. Second, and more important, is the effect of benthic versus pelagic sources, especially when significant fugacity differences exist between these zones. A simple method is described by which the separate contributions from these sources can be estimated for organisms at higher trophic levels.

  16. Comparing the Ecological Stoichiometry in Green and Brown Food Webs - A Review and Meta-analysis of Freshwater Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Evans-White, Michelle A; Halvorson, Halvor M

    2017-01-01

    The framework of ecological stoichiometry was developed primarily within the context of "green" autotroph-based food webs. While stoichiometric principles also apply in "brown" detritus-based systems, these systems have been historically understudied and differ from green ones in several important aspects including carbon (C) quality and the nutrient [nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)] contents of food resources for consumers. In this paper, we review work over the last decade that has advanced the application of ecological stoichiometry from green to brown food webs, focusing on freshwater ecosystems. We first review three focal areas where green and brown food webs differ: (1) bottom-up controls by light and nutrient availability, (2) stoichiometric constraints on consumer growth and nutritional regulation, and (3) patterns in consumer-driven nutrient dynamics. Our review highlights the need for further study of how light and nutrient availability affect autotroph-heterotroph interactions on detritus and the subsequent effects on consumer feeding and growth. To complement this conceptual review, we formally quantified differences in stoichiometric principles between green and brown food webs using a meta-analysis across feeding studies of freshwater benthic invertebrates. From 257 datasets collated across 46 publications and several unpublished studies, we compared effect sizes (Pearson's r) of resource N:C and P:C on growth, consumption, excretion, and egestion between herbivorous and detritivorous consumers. The meta-analysis revealed that both herbivore and detritivore growth are limited by resource N:C and P:C contents, but effect sizes only among detritivores were significantly above zero. Consumption effect sizes were negative among herbivores but positive for detritivores in the case of both N:C and P:C, indicating distinct compensatory feeding responses across resource stoichiometry gradients. Herbivore P excretion rates responded significantly positively

  17. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  18. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Florian D.; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C.; Guill, Christian

    2016-01-01

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity. PMID:27703157

  19. Animal diversity and ecosystem functioning in dynamic food webs.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Florian D; Brose, Ulrich; Rall, Björn C; Guill, Christian

    2016-10-05

    Species diversity is changing globally and locally, but the complexity of ecological communities hampers a general understanding of the consequences of animal species loss on ecosystem functioning. High animal diversity increases complementarity of herbivores but also increases feeding rates within the consumer guild. Depending on the balance of these counteracting mechanisms, species-rich animal communities may put plants under top-down control or may release them from grazing pressure. Using a dynamic food-web model with body-mass constraints, we simulate ecosystem functions of 20,000 communities of varying animal diversity. We show that diverse animal communities accumulate more biomass and are more exploitative on plants, despite their higher rates of intra-guild predation. However, they do not reduce plant biomass because the communities are composed of larger, and thus energetically more efficient, plant and animal species. This plasticity of community body-size structure reconciles the debate on the consequences of animal species loss for primary productivity.

  20. Mercury in the Pelagic Food Web of Lake Champlain

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Celia; Kamman, Neil; Shanley, James; Chalmers, Ann; Jackson, Brian; Taylor, Vivien; Smeltzer, Eric; Stangel, Pete; Shambaugh, Angela

    2013-01-01

    Lake Champlain continues to experience mercury contamination resulting in public advisories to limit human consumption of top trophic level fish such as walleye. Prior research suggested that mercury levels in biota could be modified by differences in ecosystem productivity as well as mercury loadings. We investigated relationships between mercury in different trophic levels in Lake Champlain. We measured inorganic and methyl mercury in water, seston, and two size fractions of zooplankton from 13 sites representing a range of nutrient loading conditions and productivity. Biomass varied significantly across lake segments in all measured ecosystem compartments in response to significant differences in nutrient levels. Local environmental factors such as alkalinity influenced the partitioning of mercury between water and seston. Mercury incorporation into biota was influenced by the biomass and mercury content of different ecosystem strata. Pelagic fish tissue mercury was a function of fish length and the size of the mercury pool associated with large zooplankton. We used these observations to parameterize a model of mercury transfers in the Lake Champlain food web that accounts for ecosystem productivity effects. Simulations using the mercury trophic transfer model suggest that reductions of 25 to 75% in summertime dissolved eplimnetic total mercury will likely allow fish tissue mercury concentrations to drop to the target level of 0.3 µg g−1 in a 40-cm fish in all lake segments. Changes in nutrient loading and ecosystem productivity in eutrophic segments may delay any response to reduced dissolved mercury and may result in increases in fish tissue mercury. PMID:22193540

  1. The assembly, collapse and restoration of food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dobson, Andy; Allesina, Stefano; Lafferty, Kevin; Pascual, Mercedes

    2009-01-01

    Darwin chose the metaphor of a 'tangled bank' to conclude the 'Origin of species'. Two centuries after Darwin's birth, we are still untangling the complex ecological networks he has pondered. In particular, studies of food webs provide important insights into how natural ecosystems function (Pascual & Dunne 2005). Although the nonlinear interactions between many species creates challenges of scale, resolution of data and significant computational constraints, the last 10 years have seen significant advances built on the earlier classic studies of Cohen, May, Pimm, Polis, Lawton and Yodzis (May 1974; Cohen 1978; Pimm 1982; Briand & Cohen 1984, 1987; Yodzis 1989; Cohen et al. 1990; Pimm et al. 1991; Yodzis & Innes 1992; Yodzis 1998). These gains stem from advances in computing power and the collation of more comprehensive data from a broader array of empirical food webs.

  2. Nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria stimulates production in Baltic food webs.

    PubMed

    Karlson, Agnes M L; Duberg, Jon; Motwani, Nisha H; Hogfors, Hedvig; Klawonn, Isabell; Ploug, Helle; Barthel Svedén, Jennie; Garbaras, Andrius; Sundelin, Brita; Hajdu, Susanna; Larsson, Ulf; Elmgren, Ragnar; Gorokhova, Elena

    2015-06-01

    Filamentous, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria form extensive summer blooms in the Baltic Sea. Their ability to fix dissolved N2 allows cyanobacteria to circumvent the general summer nitrogen limitation, while also generating a supply of novel bioavailable nitrogen for the food web. However, the fate of the nitrogen fixed by cyanobacteria remains unresolved, as does its importance for secondary production in the Baltic Sea. Here, we synthesize recent experimental and field studies providing strong empirical evidence that cyanobacterial nitrogen is efficiently assimilated and transferred in Baltic food webs via two major pathways: directly by grazing on fresh or decaying cyanobacteria and indirectly through the uptake by other phytoplankton and microbes of bioavailable nitrogen exuded from cyanobacterial cells. This information is an essential step toward guiding nutrient management to minimize noxious blooms without overly reducing secondary production, and ultimately most probably fish production in the Baltic Sea.

  3. Hamiltonian dynamics for complex food webs.

    PubMed

    Kozlov, Vladimir; Vakulenko, Sergey; Wennergren, Uno

    2016-03-01

    We investigate stability and dynamics of large ecological networks by introducing classical methods of dynamical system theory from physics, including Hamiltonian and averaging methods. Our analysis exploits the topological structure of the network, namely the existence of strongly connected nodes (hubs) in the networks. We reveal new relations between topology, interaction structure, and network dynamics. We describe mechanisms of catastrophic phenomena leading to sharp changes of dynamics and hence completely altering the ecosystem. We also show how these phenomena depend on the structure of interaction between species. We can conclude that a Hamiltonian structure of biological interactions leads to stability and large biodiversity.

  4. Hamiltonian dynamics for complex food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kozlov, Vladimir; Vakulenko, Sergey; Wennergren, Uno

    2016-03-01

    We investigate stability and dynamics of large ecological networks by introducing classical methods of dynamical system theory from physics, including Hamiltonian and averaging methods. Our analysis exploits the topological structure of the network, namely the existence of strongly connected nodes (hubs) in the networks. We reveal new relations between topology, interaction structure, and network dynamics. We describe mechanisms of catastrophic phenomena leading to sharp changes of dynamics and hence completely altering the ecosystem. We also show how these phenomena depend on the structure of interaction between species. We can conclude that a Hamiltonian structure of biological interactions leads to stability and large biodiversity.

  5. Simulating Food Web Dynamics along a Gradient: Quantifying Human Influence

    PubMed Central

    Jordán, Ferenc; Gjata, Nerta; Mei, Shu; Yule, Catherine M.

    2012-01-01

    Realistically parameterized and dynamically simulated food-webs are useful tool to explore the importance of the functional diversity of ecosystems, and in particular relations between the dynamics of species and the whole community. We present a stochastic dynamical food web simulation for the Kelian River (Borneo). The food web was constructed for six different locations, arrayed along a gradient of increasing human perturbation (mostly resulting from gold mining activities) along the river. Along the river, the relative importance of grazers, filterers and shredders decreases with increasing disturbance downstream, while predators become more dominant in governing eco-dynamics. Human activity led to increased turbidity and sedimentation which adversely impacts primary productivity. Since the main difference between the study sites was not the composition of the food webs (structure is quite similar) but the strengths of interactions and the abundance of the trophic groups, a dynamical simulation approach seemed to be useful to better explain human influence. In the pristine river (study site 1), when comparing a structural version of our model with the dynamical model we found that structurally central groups such as omnivores and carnivores were not the most important ones dynamically. Instead, primary consumers such as invertebrate grazers and shredders generated a greater dynamical response. Based on the dynamically most important groups, bottom-up control is replaced by the predominant top-down control regime as distance downstream and human disturbance increased. An important finding, potentially explaining the poor structure to dynamics relationship, is that indirect effects are at least as important as direct ones during the simulations. We suggest that our approach and this simulation framework could serve systems-based conservation efforts. Quantitative indicators on the relative importance of trophic groups and the mechanistic modeling of eco

  6. Simulating food web dynamics along a gradient: quantifying human influence.

    PubMed

    Jordán, Ferenc; Gjata, Nerta; Mei, Shu; Yule, Catherine M

    2012-01-01

    Realistically parameterized and dynamically simulated food-webs are useful tool to explore the importance of the functional diversity of ecosystems, and in particular relations between the dynamics of species and the whole community. We present a stochastic dynamical food web simulation for the Kelian River (Borneo). The food web was constructed for six different locations, arrayed along a gradient of increasing human perturbation (mostly resulting from gold mining activities) along the river. Along the river, the relative importance of grazers, filterers and shredders decreases with increasing disturbance downstream, while predators become more dominant in governing eco-dynamics. Human activity led to increased turbidity and sedimentation which adversely impacts primary productivity. Since the main difference between the study sites was not the composition of the food webs (structure is quite similar) but the strengths of interactions and the abundance of the trophic groups, a dynamical simulation approach seemed to be useful to better explain human influence. In the pristine river (study site 1), when comparing a structural version of our model with the dynamical model we found that structurally central groups such as omnivores and carnivores were not the most important ones dynamically. Instead, primary consumers such as invertebrate grazers and shredders generated a greater dynamical response. Based on the dynamically most important groups, bottom-up control is replaced by the predominant top-down control regime as distance downstream and human disturbance increased. An important finding, potentially explaining the poor structure to dynamics relationship, is that indirect effects are at least as important as direct ones during the simulations. We suggest that our approach and this simulation framework could serve systems-based conservation efforts. Quantitative indicators on the relative importance of trophic groups and the mechanistic modeling of eco

  7. Mercury biomagnification in the food web of a neotropical stream.

    PubMed

    Kwon, Sae Yun; McIntyre, Peter B; Flecker, Alexander S; Campbell, Linda M

    2012-02-15

    Anthropogenic and natural mercury (Hg) contamination have been a major concern in South America since the early 1900s, but it remains unclear whether Hg levels pose a hazard to human health in regions that lack point sources. We studied Hg biomagnification patterns in the food web of Río Las Marías, an Andean piedmont stream in northern Venezuela, which supports a major subsistence fishery. Mercury concentrations and trophic positions in the food web (based on stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon) were characterized for 24 fish species representing seven trophic guilds (piscivore, generalized carnivore, omnivore, invertivore, algivore, terrestrial herbivore, detritivore). Mercury showed significant biomagnification through the food web, but vertical trophic position explained little of the variation. Muscle Hg concentrations also increased with body mass across the food web. Trophic guild assignments offered a useful alternative to explicit analysis of vertical trophic position; piscivores showed the highest Hg concentrations and terrestrial herbivores had the lowest. There were no consistent seasonal differences in Hg concentrations within the 5 species sampled during both the wet and dry seasons, suggesting that bioavailability is unaffected by strong seasonal variation in rainfall. From a human health perspective, many medium- to large-bodied species that are commonly eaten had Hg concentrations that exceeded International Marketing Limit (IML) (0.5 μg/g) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines (0.2 μg/g) for consumption. We conclude that Hg concentrations may pose a health concern for local subsistence fishermen and their families. Our results suggest a need to perform risk assessment and better understand contaminant levels in subsistence and commercial fisheries even in areas that lack known Hg point sources.

  8. Degree correlations in a dynamically generated model food web

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rikvold, Per Arne

    2010-02-01

    We explore aspects of the community structures generated by a simple predator-prey model of biological coevolution, using large-scale kinetic Monte Carlo simulations. The model accounts for interspecies and intraspecies competition for resources, as well as adaptive foraging behavior. It produces a metastable low-diversity phase and a stable high-diversity phase. The structures and joint indegree-outdegree distributions of the food webs generated in the latter phase are discussed.

  9. Hypoxia Impacts on Food Web Linkages in a Pelagic Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sato, M.; Horne, J. K.; Parker-Stetter, S. L.; Essington, T.; Keister, J. E.; Moriarty, P.; Li, L.

    2016-02-01

    Low dissolved oxygen (DO), or hypoxia, causes significant disturbances on aquatic organisms, but the consequences for key food web linkages is not well understood. Here, we tested how the intensity of low DO events governs the degree of spatial overlap between pelagic zooplanktivorous fish and their zooplankton prey, fish feeding rates, and community compositions of zooplankton. We hypothesized that the greater sensitivity of fish to DO compared to zooplankton would lead to diminished spatial overlap at moderate DO and reduced feeding rates of fish, while severe hypoxia would amplify spatial overlap by preventing zooplankton from using deep refuge habitats leading to increased fish feeding rates. We also hypothesized shifts in zooplankton community composition towards less energetically profitable taxa such as small copepods and gelatinous species. We used a combination of multifrequency acoustic and net sampling for detecting distributions and abundance of zooplankton and pelagic fish in Hood Canal, WA, a seasonally hypoxic fjord. We employed a sampling design which paired hypoxic regions of Hood Canal with normoxic regions sampled prior to, during, and after the onset of hypoxia in two years. Contrary to our hypotheses, we found that fish and zooplankton did not change their horizontal and vertical distributions during periods and in locations with low DO levels. Consequently, the vertical overlap between fish and zooplankton did not change with DO. Fish feeding rates and the dominant zooplankton prey did not change with hypoxia events. The apparent resilience of fish to low DO in our system may be explained by decreased metabolic oxygen demand due to cool temperatures, increased availability and accessibility to their prey in low DO waters, or potential increase in predation risk at shallower depth. This study highlights the importance of both temperature and DO, instead of hypoxia threshold alone, in evaluating the impacts of hypoxia on pelagic communities.

  10. Multiple anthropogenic stressors and the structural properties of food webs.

    PubMed

    O'Gorman, Eoin J; Fitch, Jayne E; Crowe, Tasman P

    2012-03-01

    Coastal environments are among the most productive on the planet, providing a wide range of ecosystem services. Development and exploitation mean that they are faced with stresses from a number of anthropogenic sources. Such stresses are typically studied in isolation, but multiple stressors can combine in unexpected ways to alter the structure of ecological systems. Here, we experimentally explore the impacts of inorganic nutrients and organic matter on a range of food web properties. We find that these two stressors combine additively to produce significant increases in connectance and mean food chain length. Such increases are typically associated with enhanced robustness to secondary extinctions and productivity, respectively. Despite these apparent beneficial effects, we find a simplification of web structure in terms of taxon richness and diversity, and altered proportions of basal and top species. These effects are driven by a reduction in community assembly and lower consistency in a range of system properties as a result of the multiple stressors. Consequently, impacted food webs are likely to be more vulnerable to human- or climate-induced perturbations in the long-term.

  11. Modeling food webs: exploring unexplained structure using latent traits.

    PubMed

    Rohr, Rudolf Philippe; Scherer, Heike; Kehrli, Patrik; Mazza, Christian; Bersier, Louis-Félix

    2010-08-01

    Several stochastic models have tried to capture the architecture of food webs. This approach is interesting, but it is limited by the fact that different assumptions can yield similar results. To overcome this limitation, we develop a purely statistical approach. Body size in terms of an optimal ratio between prey and predator is used as explanatory variable. In 12 observed food webs, this model predicts, on average, 20% of interactions. To analyze the unexplained part, we introduce a latent term: each species is described by two latent traits, foraging and vulnerability, that represent nonmeasured characteristics of species once the optimal body size has been accounted for. The model now correctly predicts an average of 73% of links. The key features of our approach are that latent traits quantify the structure that is left unexplained by the explanatory variable and that this quantification allows a test of whether independent biological information, such as microhabitat use, camouflage, or phylogeny, explains this structure. We illustrate this method with phylogeny and find that it is linked to one or both latent traits in nine of 12 food webs. Our approach opens the door to the formulation of more complex models that can be applied to any kind of biological network.

  12. Emergence of evolutionary cycles in size-structured food webs.

    PubMed

    Ritterskamp, Daniel; Bearup, Daniel; Blasius, Bernd

    2016-11-07

    The interplay of population dynamics and evolution within ecological communities has been of long-standing interest for ecologists and can give rise to evolutionary cycles, e.g. taxon cycles. Evolutionary cycling was intensely studied in small communities with asymmetric competition; the latter drives the evolutionary processes. Here we demonstrate that evolutionary cycling arises naturally in larger communities if trophic interactions are present, since these are intrinsically asymmetric. To investigate the evolutionary dynamics of a trophic community, we use an allometric food web model. We find that evolutionary cycles emerge naturally for a large parameter ranges. The origin of the evolutionary dynamics is an intrinsic asymmetry in the feeding kernel which creates an evolutionary ratchet, driving species towards larger bodysize. We reveal different kinds of cycles: single morph cycles, and coevolutionary and mixed cycling of complete food webs. The latter refers to the case where each trophic level can have different evolutionary dynamics. We discuss the generality of our findings and conclude that ongoing evolution in food webs may be more frequent than commonly believed. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Existence and construction of large stable food webs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haerter, Jan O.; Mitarai, Namiko; Sneppen, Kim

    2017-09-01

    Ecological diversity is ubiquitous despite the restrictions imposed by competitive exclusion and apparent competition. To explain the observed richness of species in a given habitat, food-web theory has explored nonlinear functional responses, self-interaction, or spatial structure and dispersal—model ingredients that have proven to promote stability and diversity. We return instead here to classical Lotka-Volterra equations, where species-species interaction is characterized by a simple product and spatial restrictions are ignored. We quantify how this idealization imposes constraints on coexistence and diversity for many species. To this end, we introduce the concept of free and controlled species and use this to demonstrate how stable food webs can be constructed by the sequential addition of species. The resulting food webs can reach dozens of species and generally yield nonrandom degree distributions in accordance with the constraints imposed through the assembly process. Our model thus serves as a formal starting point for the study of sustainable interaction patterns between species.

  14. Tracking the autochthonous carbon transfer in stream biofilm food webs.

    PubMed

    Risse-Buhl, Ute; Trefzger, Nicolai; Seifert, Anne-Gret; Schönborn, Wilfried; Gleixner, Gerd; Küsel, Kirsten

    2012-01-01

    Food webs in the rhithral zone rely mainly on allochthonous carbon from the riparian vegetation. However, autochthonous carbon might be more important in open canopy streams. In streams, most of the microbial activity occurs in biofilms, associated with the streambed. We followed the autochthonous carbon transfer toward bacteria and grazing protozoa within a stream biofilm food web. Biofilms that developed in a second-order stream (Thuringia, Germany) were incubated in flow channels under climate-controlled conditions. Six-week-old biofilms received either ¹³C- or ¹²C-labeled CO₂, and uptake into phospholipid fatty acids was followed. The dissolved inorganic carbon of the flow channel water became immediately labeled. In biofilms grown under 8-h light/16-h dark conditions, more than 50% of the labeled carbon was incorporated in biofilm algae, mainly filamentous cyanobacteria, pennate diatoms, and nonfilamentous green algae. A mean of 29% of the labeled carbon reached protozoan grazer. The testate amoeba Pseudodifflugia horrida was highly abundant in biofilms and seemed to be the most important grazer on biofilm bacteria and algae. Hence, stream biofilms dominated by cyanobacteria and algae seem to play an important role in the uptake of CO₂ and transfer of autochthonous carbon through the microbial food web.

  15. Benthic food webs support the production of sympatric flatfish ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Identifying nursery habitats is of paramount importance to define proper management and conservation strategies for flatfish species. Flatfish nursery studies usually report upon habitat occupation, but few attempted to quantify the importance of those habitats to larvae development. The reliance of two sympatric flatfish species larvae, the European flounder Platichthys flesus and the common sole Solea solea, on the estuarine food web (benthic vs. pelagic) was determined through carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The organic matter sources supporting the production of P. flesus and S. solea larvae biomass originates chiefly in the benthic food web. However, these species have significantly different ä13C and ä15N values which suggests that they prey on organisms that use a different mixture of sources or assimilate different components from similar OM pools (or both). Fisheries production is a highly-valued ecosystem service of coastal habitats globally. Developing ecological production functions to relate nursery habitat to this ecosystem service, however, has proved challenging owing to lack of techniques to effectively relate habitat use with the early life stages of fish. In this study, we demonstrate how stable isotopes can be used to evaluate nursery habitat-fish production linkages using stable isotope analysis of an estuarine food web. In particular, we show how to quantify the reliance of two commercially-important fish species to various h

  16. Successional dynamics in the seasonally forced diamond food web.

    PubMed

    Klausmeier, Christopher A; Litchman, Elena

    2012-07-01

    Plankton seasonal succession is a classic example of nonequilibrium community dynamics. Despite the fact that it has been well studied empirically, it lacks a general quantitative theory. Here we investigate a food web model that includes a resource, two phytoplankton, and a shared grazer-the diamond food web-in a seasonal environment. The model produces a number of successional trajectories that have been widely discussed in the context of the verbal Plankton Ecology Group model of succession, such as a spring bloom of a good competitor followed by a grazer-induced clear-water phase, setting the stage for the late-season dominance of a grazer-resistant species. It also predicts a novel, counterintuitive trajectory where the grazer-resistant species has both early- and late-season blooms. The model often generates regular annual cycles but sometimes produces multiyear cycles or chaos, even with identical forcing each year. Parameterizing the model, we show how the successional trajectory depends on nutrient supply and the length of the growing season, two key parameters that vary among water bodies. This model extends nonequilibrium theory to food webs and is a first step toward a quantitative theory of plankton seasonal succession.

  17. Climatic seasonality may affect ecological network structure: food webs and mutualistic networks.

    PubMed

    Takemoto, Kazuhiro; Kanamaru, Saori; Feng, Wenfeng

    2014-07-01

    Ecological networks exhibit non-random structural patterns, such as modularity and nestedness, which determine ecosystem stability with species diversity and connectance. Such structure-stability relationships are well known. However, another important perspective is less well understood: the relationship between the environment and structure. Inspired by theoretical studies that suggest that network structure can change due to environmental variability, we collected data on a number of empirical food webs and mutualistic networks and evaluated the effect of climatic seasonality on ecological network structure. As expected, we found that climatic seasonality affects ecological network structure. In particular, an increase in modularity due to climatic seasonality was observed in food webs; however, it is debatable whether this occurs in mutualistic networks. Interestingly, the type of climatic seasonality that affects network structure differs with ecosystem type. Rainfall and temperature seasonality influence freshwater food webs and mutualistic networks, respectively; food webs are smaller, and more modular, with increasing rainfall seasonality. Mutualistic networks exhibit a higher diversity (particularly of animals) with increasing temperature seasonality. These results confirm the theoretical prediction that the stability increases with greater perturbation. Although these results are still debatable because of several limitations in the data analysis, they may enhance our understanding of environment-structure relationships. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Compartments in a marine food web associated with phylogeny, body mass, and habitat structure.

    PubMed

    Rezende, Enrico L; Albert, Eva M; Fortuna, Miguel A; Bascompte, Jordi

    2009-08-01

    A long-standing question in community ecology is whether food webs are organized in compartments, where species within the same compartment interact frequently among themselves, but show fewer interactions with species from other compartments. Finding evidence for this community organization is important since compartmentalization may strongly affect food web robustness to perturbation. However, few studies have found unequivocal evidence of compartments, and none has quantified the suite of mechanisms generating such a structure. Here, we combine computational tools from the physics of complex networks with phylogenetic statistical methods to show that a large marine food web is organized in compartments, and that body size, phylogeny, and spatial structure are jointly associated with such a compartmentalized structure. Sharks account for the majority of predatory interactions within their compartments. Phylogenetically closely related shark species tend to occupy different compartments and have divergent trophic levels, suggesting that competition may play an important role structuring some of these compartments. Current overfishing of sharks has the potential to change the structural properties, which might eventually affect the stability of the food web.

  19. Reducing Methylmercury Accumulation in the Food Webs of San Francisco Bay and Its Local Watersheds

    PubMed Central

    Davis, J.A.; Looker, R.E.; Yee, D.; Marvin-DiPasquale, M.; Grenier, J.L.; Austin, C.M.; McKee, L.J.; Greenfield, B.K.; Brodberg, R.; Blum, J.D.

    2013-01-01

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources and Hg isotope data indicating it is a secondary contributor to food web MeHg. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. MeHg cycling and control opportunities vary by habitat. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at risk wildlife populations. PMID:23122771

  20. Land Use Affects Carbon Sources to the Pelagic Food Web in a Small Boreal Lake

    PubMed Central

    Rinta, Päivi; van Hardenbroek, Maarten; Jones, Roger I.; Kankaala, Paula; Rey, Fabian; Szidat, Sönke; Wooller, Matthew J.; Heiri, Oliver

    2016-01-01

    Small humic forest lakes often have high contributions of methane-derived carbon in their food webs but little is known about the temporal stability of this carbon pathway and how it responds to environmental changes on longer time scales. We reconstructed past variations in the contribution of methanogenic carbon in the pelagic food web of a small boreal lake in Finland by analyzing the stable carbon isotopic composition (δ13C values) of chitinous fossils of planktivorous invertebrates in sediments from the lake. The δ13C values of zooplankton remains show several marked shifts (approx. 10 ‰), consistent with changes in the proportional contribution of carbon from methane-oxidizing bacteria in zooplankton diets. The results indicate that the lake only recently (1950s) obtained its present state with a high contribution of methanogenic carbon to the pelagic food web. A comparison with historical and palaeobotanical evidence indicates that this most recent shift coincided with agricultural land-use changes and forestation of the lake catchment and implies that earlier shifts may also have been related to changes in forest and land use. Our study demonstrates the sensitivity of the carbon cycle in small forest lakes to external forcing and that the effects of past changes in local land use on lacustrine carbon cycling have to be taken into account when defining environmental and ecological reference conditions in boreal headwater lakes. PMID:27487044

  1. Carbon flows in the benthic food web at the deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN (Fram Strait)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Oevelen, Dick; Bergmann, Melanie; Soetaert, Karline; Bauerfeind, Eduard; Hasemann, Christiane; Klages, Michael; Schewe, Ingo; Soltwedel, Thomas; Budaeva, Nataliya E.

    2011-11-01

    The HAUSGARTEN observatory is located in the eastern Fram Strait (Arctic Ocean) and used as long-term monitoring site to follow changes in the Arctic benthic ecosystem. Linear inverse modelling was applied to decipher carbon flows among the compartments of the benthic food web at the central HAUSGARTEN station (2500 m) based on an empirical data set consisting of data on biomass, prokaryote production, total carbon deposition and community respiration. The model resolved 99 carbon flows among 4 abiotic and 10 biotic compartments, ranging from prokaryotes up to megafauna. Total carbon input was 3.78±0.31 mmol C m -2 d -1, which is a comparatively small fraction of total primary production in the area. The community respiration of 3.26±0.20 mmol C m -2 d -1 is dominated by prokaryotes (93%) and has lower contributions from surface-deposit feeding macro- (1.7%) and suspension feeding megafauna (1.9%), whereas contributions from nematode and other macro- and megabenthic compartments were limited to <1%. The high prokaryotic contribution to carbon processing suggests that functioning of the benthic food web at the central HAUSGARTEN station is comparable to abyssal plain sediments that are characterised by strong energy limitation. Faunal diet compositions suggest that labile detritus is important for deposit-feeding nematodes (24% of their diet) and surface-deposit feeding macrofauna (˜44%), but that semi-labile detritus is more important in the diets of deposit-feeding macro- and megafauna. Dependency indices on these food sources were also calculated as these integrate direct (i.e. direct grazing and predator-prey interactions) and indirect (i.e. longer loops in the food web) pathways in the food web. Projected sea-ice retreats for the Arctic Ocean typically anticipate a decrease in the labile detritus flux to the already food-limited benthic food web. The dependency indices indicate that faunal compartments depend similarly on labile and semi-labile detritus

  2. The food web of a tropical rain forest

    SciTech Connect

    Reagan, D.P.; Waide, R.B.

    1996-12-31

    This book summarizes the natural history and trophic dynamics of a relatively simple tropical rain forest community. The community consists of the plants and animals inhabiting a 40 ha area of forest around the El Verde Field Station in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico. The understanding is based on three decades (1963 to 1993) of investigations conducted or coordinated by the biologists in the Terrestrial Ecology Division of the University of Puerto Rico (formerly the Center for Energy and Environment Research) and by many visiting scientists who have worked at El Verde. The authors construct a comprehensive food web documenting the relationships among species in this community as a means of organizing the information that`s been collected. Lay-people, students, academics, resource managers, professional scientists, and others interested in the natural history of tropical forests should find points of interest in this book. In addition, ecologists specializing in the study of trophic dynamics are provided with a detailed food web from a biome underrepresented in the available data base and with the interpretations of the importance of this web.

  3. Automated Discovery of Food Webs from Ecological Data Using Logic-Based Machine Learning

    PubMed Central

    Bohan, David A.; Caron-Lormier, Geoffrey; Muggleton, Stephen; Raybould, Alan; Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alireza

    2011-01-01

    Networks of trophic links (food webs) are used to describe and understand mechanistic routes for translocation of energy (biomass) between species. However, a relatively low proportion of ecosystems have been studied using food web approaches due to difficulties in making observations on large numbers of species. In this paper we demonstrate that Machine Learning of food webs, using a logic-based approach called A/ILP, can generate plausible and testable food webs from field sample data. Our example data come from a national-scale Vortis suction sampling of invertebrates from arable fields in Great Britain. We found that 45 invertebrate species or taxa, representing approximately 25% of the sample and about 74% of the invertebrate individuals included in the learning, were hypothesized to be linked. As might be expected, detritivore Collembola were consistently the most important prey. Generalist and omnivorous carabid beetles were hypothesized to be the dominant predators of the system. We were, however, surprised by the importance of carabid larvae suggested by the machine learning as predators of a wide variety of prey. High probability links were hypothesized for widespread, potentially destabilizing, intra-guild predation; predictions that could be experimentally tested. Many of the high probability links in the model have already been observed or suggested for this system, supporting our contention that A/ILP learning can produce plausible food webs from sample data, independent of our preconceptions about “who eats whom.” Well-characterised links in the literature correspond with links ascribed with high probability through A/ILP. We believe that this very general Machine Learning approach has great power and could be used to extend and test our current theories of agricultural ecosystem dynamics and function. In particular, we believe it could be used to support the development of a wider theory of ecosystem responses to environmental change. PMID

  4. Automated discovery of food webs from ecological data using logic-based machine learning.

    PubMed

    Bohan, David A; Caron-Lormier, Geoffrey; Muggleton, Stephen; Raybould, Alan; Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alireza

    2011-01-01

    Networks of trophic links (food webs) are used to describe and understand mechanistic routes for translocation of energy (biomass) between species. However, a relatively low proportion of ecosystems have been studied using food web approaches due to difficulties in making observations on large numbers of species. In this paper we demonstrate that Machine Learning of food webs, using a logic-based approach called A/ILP, can generate plausible and testable food webs from field sample data. Our example data come from a national-scale Vortis suction sampling of invertebrates from arable fields in Great Britain. We found that 45 invertebrate species or taxa, representing approximately 25% of the sample and about 74% of the invertebrate individuals included in the learning, were hypothesized to be linked. As might be expected, detritivore Collembola were consistently the most important prey. Generalist and omnivorous carabid beetles were hypothesized to be the dominant predators of the system. We were, however, surprised by the importance of carabid larvae suggested by the machine learning as predators of a wide variety of prey. High probability links were hypothesized for widespread, potentially destabilizing, intra-guild predation; predictions that could be experimentally tested. Many of the high probability links in the model have already been observed or suggested for this system, supporting our contention that A/ILP learning can produce plausible food webs from sample data, independent of our preconceptions about "who eats whom." Well-characterised links in the literature correspond with links ascribed with high probability through A/ILP. We believe that this very general Machine Learning approach has great power and could be used to extend and test our current theories of agricultural ecosystem dynamics and function. In particular, we believe it could be used to support the development of a wider theory of ecosystem responses to environmental change.

  5. Predator diversity and identity drive interaction strength and trophic cascades in a food web.

    PubMed

    Otto, Sonja B; Berlow, Eric L; Rank, Nathan E; Smiley, John; Brose, Ulrich

    2008-01-01

    Declining predator diversity may drastically affect the biomass and productivity of herbivores and plants. Understanding how changes in predator diversity can propagate through food webs to alter ecosystem function is one of the most challenging ecological research topics today. We studied the effects of predator removal in a simple natural food web in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California (USA). By excluding the predators of the third trophic level of a food web in a full-factorial design, we monitored cascading effects of varying predator diversity and composition on the herbivorous beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis and the willow Salix orestera, which compose the first and second trophic levels of the food web. Decreasing predator diversity increased herbivore biomass and survivorship, and consequently increased the amount of plant biomass consumed via a trophic cascade. Despite this simple linear mean effect of diversity on the strength of the trophic cascade, we found additivity, compensation, and interference in the effects of multiple predators on herbivores and plants. Herbivore survivorship and predator-prey interaction strengths varied with predator diversity, predator identity, and the identity of coexisting predators. Additive effects of predators on herbivores and plants may have been driven by temporal niche separation, whereas compensatory effects and interference occurred among predators with a similar phenology. Together, these results suggest that while the general trends of diversity effects may appear linear and additive, other information about species identity was required to predict the effects of removing individual predators. In a community that is not temporally well-mixed, predator traits such as phenology may help predict impacts of species loss on other species. Information about predator natural history and food web structure may help explain variation in predator diversity effects on trophic cascades and ecosystem function.

  6. Bioaccumulation of toxaphene congeners in the lake superior food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Muir, D.C.G.; Whittle, D.M.; De Vault, D. S.; Bronte, C.R.; Karlsson, H.; Backus, S.; Teixeira, C.

    2004-01-01

    The bioaccumulation and biotransformation of toxaphene was examined in the food webs of Lake Superior and Siskiwit Lake (Isle Royale) using congener specific analysis as well as stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen to characterize food webs. Toxaphene concentrations (calculated using technical toxaphene) in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from the western basin of Lake Superior (N = 95) averaged (±SD) 889 ± 896 ng/g wet wt and 60 ± 34 ng/g wet wt in Siskiwit Lake. Major congeners in lake trout were B8-789 (P38), B8-2226 (P44), B9-1679 (P50), and B9-1025 (P62). Toxaphene concentrations were found to vary seasonally, especially in lower food web organisms in Lake Superior and to a lesser extent in Siskiwit Lake. Toxaphene concentrations declined significantly in lake herring (Coregonus artedii), rainbow smelt (Omerus mordax), and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) as well as in zooplankton (> 102 &mn;m) and Mysis (Mysis relicta) between May and October. The seasonal variation may reflect seasonal shifts in the species abundance within the zooplankton community. Trophic magnification factors (TMF) derived from regressions of toxaphene congener concentrations versus δ15N were > 1 for most octa- and nonachlorobornanes in Lake Superior except B8-1413 (P26) and B9-715. Log bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) for toxaphene congeners in lake trout (ng/g lipid/ng/L dissolved) ranged from 4.54 to 9.7 and were significantly correlated with log octanol-water partition coefficients. TMFs observed for total toxaphene and congener B9-1679 in Lake Superior were similar to those in Arctic lakes, as well as to previous studies in the Great Lakes, which suggests that the bioaccumulation behavior of toxaphene is similar in pelagic food webs of large, cold water systems. However, toxaphene concentrations were lower in lake trout from Siskiwit Lake and lakes in northwestern Ontario than in Lake Superior possibly because of shorter food chains and greater reliance on zooplankton or

  7. Transient dynamics and food-web complexity in the Lotka-Volterra cascade model.

    PubMed Central

    Chen, X.; Cohen, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    How does the long-term behaviour near equilibrium of model food webs correlate with their short-term transient dynamics? Here, simulations of the Lotka -Volterra cascade model of food webs provide the first evidence to answer this question. Transient behaviour is measured by resilience, reactivity, the maximum amplification of a perturbation and the time at which the maximum amplification occurs. Model food webs with a higher probability of local asymptotic stability may be less resilient and may have a larger transient growth of perturbations. Given a fixed connectance, the sizes and durations of transient responses to perturbations increase with the number of species. Given a fixed number of species, as connectance increases, the sizes and durations of transient responses to perturbations may increase or decrease depending on the type of link that is varied. Reactivity is more sensitive to changes in the number of donor-controlled links than to changes in the number of recipient-controlled links, while resilience is more sensitive to changes in the number of recipient-controlled links than to changes in the number of donor-controlled links. Transient behaviour is likely to be one of the important factors affecting the persistence of ecological communities. PMID:11345334

  8. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  9. Road salts as environmental constraints in urban pond food webs.

    PubMed

    Van Meter, Robin J; Swan, Christopher M

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater salinization is an emerging environmental filter in urban aquatic ecosystems that receive chloride road salt runoff from vast expanses of impervious surface cover. Our study was designed to evaluate the effects of chloride contamination on urban stormwater pond food webs through changes in zooplankton community composition as well as density and biomass of primary producers and consumers. From May - July 2009, we employed a 2×2×2 full-factorial design to manipulate chloride concentration (low = 177 mg L(-1) Cl(-/)high = 1067 mg L(-1) Cl(-)), gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles (presence/absence) and source of stormwater pond algae and zooplankton inoculum (low conductance/high conductance urban ponds) in 40, 600-L mesocosms. Road salt did serve as a constraint on zooplankton community structure, driving community divergence between the low and high chloride treatments. Phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll [a] µg L(-1)) in the mesocosms was significantly greater for the high conductance inoculum (P<0.001) and in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.046), whereas periphyton biomass was significantly lower in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.049). Gray treefrog tadpole time to metamorphosis did not vary significantly between treatments. However, mass at metamorphosis was greater among tadpoles that experienced a faster than average time to metamorphosis and exposure to high chloride concentrations (P = 0.039). Our results indicate differential susceptibility to chloride salts among algal resources and zooplankton taxa, and further suggest that road salts can act as a significant environmental constraint on urban stormwater pond communities.

  10. Road Salts as Environmental Constraints in Urban Pond Food Webs

    PubMed Central

    Van Meter, Robin J.; Swan, Christopher M.

    2014-01-01

    Freshwater salinization is an emerging environmental filter in urban aquatic ecosystems that receive chloride road salt runoff from vast expanses of impervious surface cover. Our study was designed to evaluate the effects of chloride contamination on urban stormwater pond food webs through changes in zooplankton community composition as well as density and biomass of primary producers and consumers. From May – July 2009, we employed a 2×2×2 full-factorial design to manipulate chloride concentration (low = 177 mg L−1 Cl−/high = 1067 mg L−1 Cl−), gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles (presence/absence) and source of stormwater pond algae and zooplankton inoculum (low conductance/high conductance urban ponds) in 40, 600-L mesocosms. Road salt did serve as a constraint on zooplankton community structure, driving community divergence between the low and high chloride treatments. Phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll [a] µg L−1) in the mesocosms was significantly greater for the high conductance inoculum (P<0.001) and in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.046), whereas periphyton biomass was significantly lower in the high chloride treatment (P = 0.049). Gray treefrog tadpole time to metamorphosis did not vary significantly between treatments. However, mass at metamorphosis was greater among tadpoles that experienced a faster than average time to metamorphosis and exposure to high chloride concentrations (P = 0.039). Our results indicate differential susceptibility to chloride salts among algal resources and zooplankton taxa, and further suggest that road salts can act as a significant environmental constraint on urban stormwater pond communities. PMID:24587259

  11. Food webs of the Delta, Suisun Bay and Suisun Marsh: an update on current understanding and possibilities for management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brown, Larry R.; Kimmerer, Wim J.; Conrad, Louise; Lesmeister, Sarah; Mueller-Solger, Anke

    2017-01-01

    This paper reviews and highlights recent research findings on foodweb processes since an earlier review by Kimmerer et al. (2008). We conduct this review within a conceptual framework of the Delta-Suisun food web, which includes both temporal and spatial components. The temporal component is based on knowledge that the landscape has changed markedly from historical conditions. The spatial component of our framework acknowledges that the food web is not spatially static; it varies regionally and across habitat types within regions. The review highlights the idea of a changing baseline with respect to foodweb function. New research also indicates that interactions between habitat-specific food webs vary across the current landscape. For example, based on early work in the South Delta, the food web associated with submerged aquatic vegetation was thought to provide little support to species of concern; however, data from other regions of the estuary suggest that this conceptual model may not apply across the entire region. Habitat restoration has been proposed as a method of re-establishing historic foodweb processes to support species of concern. Benefits are likely for species that directly access such restored habitats, but are less clear for pelagic species. Several topics require attention to further improve the knowledge of food webs needed to support effective management, including: 1) synthesis of factors responsible for low pelagic biomass; 2) monitoring and research on effects of harmful algal blooms; 3) broadening the scope of long-term monitoring; 4) determining benefits of tidal wetland restoration to species of concern, including evaluations of interactions of habitat-specific food webs; and 5) interdisciplinary analysis and synthesis. The only certainty is that food webs will continue to change in response to the changes in the physical environment and new species invasions.

  12. Temporal variation in regulation of production in a pelagic food web model

    SciTech Connect

    Bartell, S.M.; Brenkert, A.L.; O'Neill, R.V.; Gardner, R.H.

    1987-01-01

    We examined the implications of differential resource use and predator-prey relations in a seasonal environment, formalized as a pelagic food web model, on temporal changes in the relative importance of bottom-up and top-down structuring of the phytoplankton. Detailed analyses of the model's behavior were used to identify periods when control of production shifted from interspecific interactions among the phytoplankton to cascading trophic interactions.

  13. Rainfall and hydrological stability alter the impact of top predators on food web structure and function.

    PubMed

    Marino, Nicholas A C; Srivastava, Diane S; MacDonald, A Andrew M; Leal, Juliana S; Campos, Alice B A; Farjalla, Vinicius F

    2017-02-01

    Climate change will alter the distribution of rainfall, with potential consequences for the hydrological dynamics of aquatic habitats. Hydrological stability can be an important determinant of diversity in temporary aquatic habitats, affecting species persistence and the importance of predation on community dynamics. As such, prey are not only affected by drought-induced mortality but also the risk of predation [a non-consumptive effect (NCE)] and actual consumption by predators [a consumptive effect (CE)]. Climate-induced changes in rainfall may directly, or via altered hydrological stability, affect predator-prey interactions and their cascading effects on the food web, but this has rarely been explored, especially in natural food webs. To address this question, we performed a field experiment using tank bromeliads and their aquatic food web, composed of predatory damselfly larvae, macroinvertebrate prey and bacteria. We manipulated the presence and consumption ability of damselfly larvae under three rainfall scenarios (ambient, few large rainfall events and several small rainfall events), recorded the hydrological dynamics within bromeliads and examined the effects on macroinvertebrate colonization, nutrient cycling and bacterial biomass and turnover. Despite our large perturbations of rainfall, rainfall scenario had no effect on the hydrological dynamics of bromeliads. As a result, macroinvertebrate colonization and nutrient cycling depended on the hydrological stability of bromeliads, with no direct effect of rainfall or predation. In contrast, rainfall scenario determined the direction of the indirect effects of predators on bacteria, driven by both predator CEs and NCEs. These results suggest that rainfall and the hydrological stability of bromeliads had indirect effects on the food web through changes in the CEs and NCEs of predators. We suggest that future studies should consider the importance of the variability in hydrological dynamics among habitats as

  14. Microbial Food-Web Drivers in Tropical Reservoirs.

    PubMed

    Domingues, Carolina Davila; da Silva, Lucia Helena Sampaio; Rangel, Luciana Machado; de Magalhães, Leonardo; de Melo Rocha, Adriana; Lobão, Lúcia Meirelles; Paiva, Rafael; Roland, Fábio; Sarmento, Hugo

    2017-04-01

    Element cycling in aquatic systems is driven chiefly by planktonic processes, and the structure of the planktonic food web determines the efficiency of carbon transfer through trophic levels. However, few studies have comprehensively evaluated all planktonic food-web components in tropical regions. The aim of this study was to unravel the top-down controls (metazooplankton community structure), bottom-up controls (resource availability), and hydrologic (water residence time) and physical (temperature) variables that affect different components of the microbial food web (MFW) carbon stock in tropical reservoirs, through structural equation models (SEM). We conducted a field study in four deep Brazilian reservoirs (Balbina, Tucuruí, Três Marias, and Funil) with different trophic states (oligo-, meso-, and eutrophic). We found evidence of a high contribution of the MFW (up to 50% of total planktonic carbon), especially in the less-eutrophic reservoirs (Balbina and Tucuruí). Bottom-up and top-down effects assessed through SEM indicated negative interactions between soluble reactive phosphorus and phototrophic picoplankton (PPP), dissolved inorganic nitrogen, and heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF). Copepods positively affected ciliates, and cladocerans positively affected heterotrophic bacteria (HB) and PPP. Higher copepod/cladoceran ratios and an indirect positive effect of copepods on HB might strengthen HB-HNF coupling. We also found low values for the degree of uncoupling (D) and a low HNF/HB ratio compared with literature data (mostly from temperate regions). This study demonstrates the importance of evaluating the whole size spectrum (including microbial compartments) of the different planktonic compartments, in order to capture the complex carbon dynamics of tropical aquatic ecosystems.

  15. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds

    SciTech Connect

    Davis, J.A.; Looker, R.E.; Yee, D.; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M.; Austin, C.M.; McKee, L.J.; Greenfield, B.K.; Brodberg, R.; Blum, J.D.

    2012-11-15

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg in some habitats more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at-risk wildlife populations.

  16. Reducing methylmercury accumulation in the food webs of San Francisco Bay and its local watersheds.

    PubMed

    Davis, J A; Looker, R E; Yee, D; Marvin-Di Pasquale, M; Grenier, J L; Austin, C M; McKee, L J; Greenfield, B K; Brodberg, R; Blum, J D

    2012-11-01

    from urban runoff. Atmospheric deposition is a lower priority for source control in the Bay Area due to a combination of a lack of major local sources. Internal net production of MeHg is the dominant source of MeHg that enters the food web. Controlling internal net production is the second primary management approach, and has the potential to reduce food web MeHg in some habitats more effectively and within a much shorter time-frame. Controlling net MeHg production and accumulation in the food web of upstream reservoirs and ponds is very promising due to the many features of these ecosystems that can be manipulated. The most feasible control options in tidal marshes relate to the design of flow patterns and subhabitats in restoration projects. Options for controlling MeHg production in open Bay habitat are limited due primarily to the highly dispersed distribution of Hg throughout the ecosystem. Other changes in these habitats may also have a large influence on food web MeHg, including temperature changes due to global warming, sea level rise, food web alterations due to introduced species and other causes, and changes in sediment supply. Other options for reducing or mitigating exposure and risk include controlling bioaccumulation, cleanup of contaminated sites, and reducing other factors (e.g., habitat availability) that limit at-risk wildlife populations.

  17. River Food Web Response to Large-Scale Riparian Zone Manipulations

    PubMed Central

    Wootton, J. Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks. PMID:23284786

  18. River food web response to large-scale riparian zone manipulations.

    PubMed

    Wootton, J Timothy

    2012-01-01

    Conservation programs often focus on select species, leading to management plans based on the autecology of the focal species, but multiple ecosystem components can be affected both by the environmental factors impacting, and the management targeting, focal species. These broader effects can have indirect impacts on target species through the web of interactions within ecosystems. For example, human activity can strongly alter riparian vegetation, potentially impacting both economically-important salmonids and their associated river food web. In an Olympic Peninsula river, Washington state, USA, replicated large-scale riparian vegetation manipulations implemented with the long-term (>40 yr) goal of improving salmon habitat did not affect water temperature, nutrient limitation or habitat characteristics, but reduced canopy cover, causing reduced energy input via leaf litter, increased incident solar radiation (UV and PAR) and increased algal production compared to controls. In response, benthic algae, most insect taxa, and juvenile salmonids increased in manipulated areas. Stable isotope analysis revealed a predominant contribution of algal-derived energy to salmonid diets in manipulated reaches. The experiment demonstrates that riparian management targeting salmonids strongly affects river food webs via changes in the energy base, illustrates how species-based management strategies can have unanticipated indirect effects on the target species via the associated food web, and supports ecosystem-based management approaches for restoring depleted salmonid stocks.

  19. Tundra fire disturbance homogonizes belowground food web structure, function and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, J. C.; Pressler, Y.; Koltz, A.; Asmus, A.; Simpson, R.

    2016-12-01

    Tundra fires on Alaska's North Slope are on the rise due to increased lightning strikes since 2000. On July 16, 2007 lightning ignited the Anaktuvuk River fire, burning a 40-by-10 mile swath of tundra about 24 miles north of Toolik Field Station. The fire burned 401 square miles, was visible from space, and released more than 2.3 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. A large amount of the organic layer of the soil was burned, changing the over all composition of the site and exposing deeper soil horizons. Due to fundamental transitions in soil characteristics and vegetation we hypothesized that the belowground food web community would be affected both in terms of biomass and location within the soil profile. Microbial biomass was reduced with burn severity. In the lower organic horizon there was a significant reduction in fungal biomass but we did not observe this effect in the upper organic soil. We did not observe a significant effect of burn severity on individual group biomass within higher trophic levels. Canonical Discriminant Analysis using the biomass estimates of the functional groups in the food webs found that the webs are becoming increasingly homogenized in the severely burned site compared to the moderately burned and unburned sites. The unburned soils differed significantly from soil at both burn sites; the greatest effects on food web structure were at the lower organic depth, whereas. We modeled the effects of the fire on soil organic matter processing rates and energy flow through the three food webs. The model estimated a decrease in C and N mineralization with fire severity, due in large part to the loss of organic material. While the organic horizon at the unburned site had 12 times greater C and N mineralization than the mineral soils, we observed little to no difference in C and N mineralization between the organic and mineral soil horizons in the moderately and severely burned sites. Our results show that the fire significantly altered

  20. Parasitism and Food Web Structure in Defoliating Lepidoptera - Parasitoid Communities on Soybean.

    PubMed

    Avalos, D S; Mangeaud, A; Valladares, G R

    2016-12-01

    Food webs are usually regarded as snapshots of community feeding interactions. Here, we describe the yearly and cumulative structure of parasitoid-caterpillar food webs on soybean in central Argentina, analyzing parasitism rates and their variability in relation to parasitoid diversity and food web vulnerability in the system. Lepidoptera larvae were collected along four seasons from soybean crops and reared in laboratory to obtain and identify adults and parasitoids. Eleven species of defoliating Lepidoptera and ten parasitoid species were recorded. Food web statistics showed rather low annual variability, with most variation coefficients in the order of 0.20 and generality showing the most stable values. Parasitism showed the highest variability, which was independent of parasitoid diversity and food web vulnerability, although parasitism rates were negatively related to parasitoid richness. Our study highlights the need to consider food web structure and variability in order to understand the functioning of ecological communities in general and in extensive agricultural ecosystems in particular.

  1. Food-web complexity, meta-community complexity and community stability.

    PubMed

    Mougi, A; Kondoh, M

    2016-04-13

    What allows interacting, diverse species to coexist in nature has been a central question in ecology, ever since the theoretical prediction that a complex community should be inherently unstable. Although the role of spatiality in species coexistence has been recognized, its application to more complex systems has been less explored. Here, using a meta-community model of food web, we show that meta-community complexity, measured by the number of local food webs and their connectedness, elicits a self-regulating, negative-feedback mechanism and thus stabilizes food-web dynamics. Moreover, the presence of meta-community complexity can give rise to a positive food-web complexity-stability effect. Spatiality may play a more important role in stabilizing dynamics of complex, real food webs than expected from ecological theory based on the models of simpler food webs.

  2. Longer and less overlapping food webs in anthropogenically disturbed marine ecosystems: confirmations from the past.

    PubMed

    Saporiti, Fabiana; Bearhop, Stuart; Silva, Laura; Vales, Damián G; Zenteno, Lisette; Crespo, Enrique A; Aguilar, Alex; Cardona, Luis

    2014-01-01

    The human exploitation of marine resources is characterised by the preferential removal of the largest species. Although this is expected to modify the structure of food webs, we have a relatively poor understanding of the potential consequences of such alteration. Here, we take advantage of a collection of ancient consumer tissues, using stable isotope analysis and SIBER to assess changes in the structure of coastal marine food webs in the South-western Atlantic through the second half of the Holocene as a result of the sequential exploitation of marine resources by hunter-gatherers, western sealers and modern fishermen. Samples were collected from shell middens and museums. Shells of both modern and archaeological intertidal herbivorous molluscs were used to reconstruct changes in the stable isotopic baseline, while modern and archaeological bones of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens, South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis and Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus were used to analyse changes in the structure of the community of top predators. We found that ancient food webs were shorter, more redundant and more overlapping than current ones, both in northern-central Patagonia and southern Patagonia. These surprising results may be best explained by the huge impact of western sealing on pinnipeds during the fur trade period, rather than the impact of fishing on fish populations. As a consequence, the populations of pinnipeds at the end of the sealing period were likely well below the ecosystem's carrying capacity, which resulted in a release of intraspecific competition and a shift towards larger and higher trophic level prey. This in turn led to longer and less overlapping food webs.

  3. Longer and Less Overlapping Food Webs in Anthropogenically Disturbed Marine Ecosystems: Confirmations from the Past

    PubMed Central

    Saporiti, Fabiana; Bearhop, Stuart; Silva, Laura; Vales, Damián G.; Zenteno, Lisette; Crespo, Enrique A.; Aguilar, Alex; Cardona, Luis

    2014-01-01

    The human exploitation of marine resources is characterised by the preferential removal of the largest species. Although this is expected to modify the structure of food webs, we have a relatively poor understanding of the potential consequences of such alteration. Here, we take advantage of a collection of ancient consumer tissues, using stable isotope analysis and SIBER to assess changes in the structure of coastal marine food webs in the South-western Atlantic through the second half of the Holocene as a result of the sequential exploitation of marine resources by hunter-gatherers, western sealers and modern fishermen. Samples were collected from shell middens and museums. Shells of both modern and archaeological intertidal herbivorous molluscs were used to reconstruct changes in the stable isotopic baseline, while modern and archaeological bones of the South American sea lion Otaria flavescens, South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis and Magellanic penguin Spheniscus magellanicus were used to analyse changes in the structure of the community of top predators. We found that ancient food webs were shorter, more redundant and more overlapping than current ones, both in northern-central Patagonia and southern Patagonia. These surprising results may be best explained by the huge impact of western sealing on pinnipeds during the fur trade period, rather than the impact of fishing on fish populations. As a consequence, the populations of pinnipeds at the end of the sealing period were likely well below the ecosystem's carrying capacity, which resulted in a release of intraspecific competition and a shift towards larger and higher trophic level prey. This in turn led to longer and less overlapping food webs. PMID:25076042

  4. Disentangling the root- and detritus-based food chain in the micro-food web of an arable soil by plant removal

    PubMed Central

    Glavatska, Olena; Müller, Karolin; Butenschoen, Olaf; Schmalwasser, Andreas; Kandeler, Ellen; Scheu, Stefan; Totsche, Kai Uwe

    2017-01-01

    Soil food web structure and function is primarily determined by the major basal resources, which are living plant tissue, root exudates and dead organic matter. A field experiment was performed to disentangle the interlinkage of the root-and detritus-based soil food chains. An arable site was cropped either with maize, amended with maize shoot litter or remained bare soil, representing food webs depending on roots, aboveground litter and soil organic matter as predominant resource, respectively. The soil micro-food web, i.e. microorganisms and nematodes, was investigated in two successive years along a depth transect. The community composition of nematodes was used as model to determine the changes in the rhizosphere, detritusphere and bulk soil food web. In the first growing season the impact of treatments on the soil micro-food web was minor. In the second year plant-feeding nematodes increased under maize, whereas after harvest the Channel Index assigned promotion of the detritivore food chain, reflecting decomposition of root residues. The amendment with litter did not foster microorganisms, instead biomass of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as that of fungi declined in the rooted zone. Likely higher grazing pressure by nematodes reduced microbial standing crop as bacterial and fungal feeders increased. However, populations at higher trophic levels were not promoted, indicating limited flux of litter resources along the food chain. After two years of bare soil microbial biomass and nematode density remained stable, pointing to soil organic matter-based resources that allow bridging periods with deprivation. Nematode communities were dominated by opportunistic taxa that are competitive at moderate resource supply. In sum, removal of plants from the system had less severe effects than expected, suggesting considerable food web resilience to the disruption of both the root and detrital carbon channel, pointing to a legacy of organic matter

  5. Disentangling the root- and detritus-based food chain in the micro-food web of an arable soil by plant removal.

    PubMed

    Glavatska, Olena; Müller, Karolin; Butenschoen, Olaf; Schmalwasser, Andreas; Kandeler, Ellen; Scheu, Stefan; Totsche, Kai Uwe; Ruess, Liliane

    2017-01-01

    Soil food web structure and function is primarily determined by the major basal resources, which are living plant tissue, root exudates and dead organic matter. A field experiment was performed to disentangle the interlinkage of the root-and detritus-based soil food chains. An arable site was cropped either with maize, amended with maize shoot litter or remained bare soil, representing food webs depending on roots, aboveground litter and soil organic matter as predominant resource, respectively. The soil micro-food web, i.e. microorganisms and nematodes, was investigated in two successive years along a depth transect. The community composition of nematodes was used as model to determine the changes in the rhizosphere, detritusphere and bulk soil food web. In the first growing season the impact of treatments on the soil micro-food web was minor. In the second year plant-feeding nematodes increased under maize, whereas after harvest the Channel Index assigned promotion of the detritivore food chain, reflecting decomposition of root residues. The amendment with litter did not foster microorganisms, instead biomass of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as that of fungi declined in the rooted zone. Likely higher grazing pressure by nematodes reduced microbial standing crop as bacterial and fungal feeders increased. However, populations at higher trophic levels were not promoted, indicating limited flux of litter resources along the food chain. After two years of bare soil microbial biomass and nematode density remained stable, pointing to soil organic matter-based resources that allow bridging periods with deprivation. Nematode communities were dominated by opportunistic taxa that are competitive at moderate resource supply. In sum, removal of plants from the system had less severe effects than expected, suggesting considerable food web resilience to the disruption of both the root and detrital carbon channel, pointing to a legacy of organic matter

  6. Moving up the information food chain: Deploying softbots on the World Wide Web

    SciTech Connect

    Etzioni, O.

    1996-12-31

    I view the World Wide Web as an information food chain. The maze of pages and hyperlinks that comprise the Web are at the very bottom of the chain. The WebCrawlers and Alta Vistas of the world are information herbivores; they graze on Web pages and regurgitate them as searchable indices. Today, most Web users feed near the bottom of the information food chain, but the time is ripe to move up. Since 1991, we have been building information carnivores, which intelligently hunt and feast on herbivores in Unix, on the Internet, and on the Web.

  7. Impacts of elevated terrestrial nutrient loads and temperature on pelagic food-web efficiency and fish production.

    PubMed

    Lefébure, R; Degerman, R; Andersson, A; Larsson, S; Eriksson, L-O; Båmstedt, U; Byström, P

    2013-05-01

    Both temperature and terrestrial organic matter have strong impacts on aquatic food-web dynamics and production. Temperature affects vital rates of all organisms, and terrestrial organic matter can act both as an energy source for lower trophic levels, while simultaneously reducing light availability for autotrophic production. As climate change predictions for the Baltic Sea and elsewhere suggest increases in both terrestrial matter runoff and increases in temperature, we studied the effects on pelagic food-web dynamics and food-web efficiency in a plausible future scenario with respect to these abiotic variables in a large-scale mesocosm experiment. Total basal (phytoplankton plus bacterial) production was slightly reduced when only increasing temperatures, but was otherwise similar across all other treatments. Separate increases in nutrient loads and temperature decreased the ratio of autotrophic:heterotrophic production, but the combined treatment of elevated temperature and terrestrial nutrient loads increased both fish production and food-web efficiency. CDOM: Chl a ratios strongly indicated that terrestrial and not autotrophic carbon was the main energy source in these food webs and our results also showed that zooplankton biomass was positively correlated with increased bacterial production. Concomitantly, biomass of the dominant calanoid copepod Acartia sp. increased as an effect of increased temperature. As the combined effects of increased temperature and terrestrial organic nutrient loads were required to increase zooplankton abundance and fish production, conclusions about effects of climate change on food-web dynamics and fish production must be based on realistic combinations of several abiotic factors. Moreover, our results question established notions on the net inefficiency of heterotrophic carbon transfer to the top of the food web.

  8. Biotransport of Algal Toxins to Riparian Food Webs.

    PubMed

    Moy, Nicholas J; Dodson, Jenna; Tassone, Spencer J; Bukaveckas, Paul A; Bulluck, Lesley P

    2016-09-20

    The occurrence of harmful algal blooms has resulted in growing worldwide concern about threats to aquatic life and human health. Microcystin (MC), a cyanotoxin, is the most widely reported algal toxin in freshwaters. Prior studies have documented its presence in aquatic food webs including commercially important fish and shellfish. In this paper we present the first evidence that algal toxins propagate into riparian food webs. We show that MC is present in emerging aquatic insects (Hexagenia mayflies) from the James River Estuary and their consumers (Tetragnathidae spiders and Prothonotary Warblers, Protonotaria citrea). MC levels in Prothonotary Warblers varied by age class, with nestlings having the highest levels. At the site where nestlings received a higher proportion of aquatic prey (i.e., mayflies) in their diet, we observed higher MC concentrations in liver tissue and fecal matter. Warbler body condition and growth rate were not related to liver MC levels, suggesting that aquatic prey may provide dietary benefits that offset potential deleterious effects of the toxin. This study provides evidence that threats posed by algal toxins extend beyond the aquatic environments in which blooms occur.

  9. Coupled predator-prey oscillations in a chaotic food web.

    PubMed

    Benincà, Elisa; Jöhnk, Klaus D; Heerkloss, Reinhard; Huisman, Jef

    2009-12-01

    Coupling of several predator-prey oscillations can generate intriguing patterns of synchronization and chaos. Theory predicts that prey species will fluctuate in phase if predator-prey cycles are coupled through generalist predators, whereas they will fluctuate in anti-phase if predator-prey cycles are coupled through competition between prey species. Here, we investigate predator-prey oscillations in a long-term experiment with a marine plankton community. Wavelet analysis of the species fluctuations reveals two predator-prey cycles that fluctuate largely in anti-phase. The phase angles point at strong competition between the phytoplankton species, but relatively little prey overlap among the zooplankton species. This food web architecture is consistent with the size structure of the plankton community, and generates highly dynamic food webs. Continued alternations in species dominance enable coexistence of the prey species through a non-equilibrium 'killing-the-winner' mechanism, as the system shifts back and forth between the two predator-prey cycles in a chaotic fashion.

  10. Drivers of nitrogen transfer in stream food webs across continents.

    PubMed

    Norman, B C; Whiles, M R; Collins, S M; Flecker, A S; Hamilton, S K; Johnson, S L; Rosi-Marshall, E J; Ashkenas, L R; Bowden, W B; Crenshaw, C L; Crowl, T; Dodds, W K; Hall, R O; El-Sabaawi, R; Griffiths, N A; Marti, E; McDowell, W H; Peterson, S D; Rantala, H M; Riis, T; Simon, K S; Tank, J L; Thomas, S A; von Schiller, D; Webster, J R

    2017-09-07

    Studies of trophic-level material and energy transfers are central to ecology. The use of isotopic tracers has now made it possible to measure trophic transfer efficiencies of important nutrients and to better understand how these materials move through food webs. We analyzed data from thirteen (15) N-ammonium tracer addition experiments to quantify N transfer from basal resources to animals in headwater streams with varying physical, chemical, and biological features. N transfer efficiencies from primary uptake compartments (PUCs; heterotrophic microorganisms and primary producers) to primary consumers was lower (mean: 11.5%, range: <1%-43%) than N transfer efficiencies from primary consumers to predators (mean: 80%, range: 5%- >100%). Total N transferred (as a rate) was greater in streams with open compared to closed canopies and overall N transfer efficiency generally followed a similar pattern, although was not statistically significant. We used principal component analysis to condense a suite of site characteristics into two environmental components. Total N uptake rates among trophic levels were best predicted by the component that was correlated with latitude, DIN:SRP, GPP:ER, and % canopy cover. N transfer efficiency did not respond consistently to environmental variables. Our results suggest that canopy cover influences N movement through stream food webs because light availability and primary production facilitate N transfer to higher trophic levels. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  11. Body size drives allochthony in food webs of tropical rivers.

    PubMed

    Jardine, Timothy D; Rayner, Thomas S; Pettit, Neil E; Valdez, Dominic; Ward, Douglas P; Lindner, Garry; Douglas, Michael M; Bunn, Stuart E

    2017-02-01

    Food web subsidies from external sources ("allochthony") can support rich biological diversity and high secondary and tertiary production in aquatic systems, even those with low rates of primary production. However, animals vary in their degree of dependence on these subsidies. We examined dietary sources for aquatic animals restricted to refugial habitats (waterholes) during the dry season in Australia's wet-dry tropics, and show that allochthony is strongly size dependent. While small-bodied fishes and invertebrates derived a large proportion of their diet from autochthonous sources within the waterhole (phytoplankton, periphyton, or macrophytes), larger animals, including predatory fishes and crocodiles, demonstrated allochthony from seasonally inundated floodplains, coastal zones or the surrounding savanna. Autochthony declined roughly 10% for each order of magnitude increase in body size. The largest animals in the food web, estuarine crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), derived ~80% of their diet from allochthonous sources. Allochthony enables crocodiles and large predatory fish to achieve high biomass, countering empirically derived expectations for negative density vs. body size relationships. These results highlight the strong degree of connectivity that exists between rivers and their floodplains in systems largely unaffected by river regulation or dams and levees, and how large iconic predators could be disproportionately affected by these human activities.

  12. Biomagnification of polychlorinated biphenyls through a riverine food web

    SciTech Connect

    Zaranko, D.T.; Kaushik, N.K.; Griffiths, R.W.

    1997-07-01

    From 1989 to 1993, biota collected from Pottersburg Creek, London, ON, Canada were analyzed for total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and lipids. Data were analyzed by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with lipid as the covariate, to investigate station, time, and trophic effects on PCB accumulation in aquatic organisms. All three variables were highly significant. PCB concentrations in biota decreased along the length of the creek away from the point source. PCB concentrations in biota collected in July 1993 were not significantly different from concentrations in biota collected in July 1990, suggesting that sources into the creek have not been alleviated. The relationship between PCBs and lipid for biota from Pottersburg Creek suggests that organisms accumulate PCBs relative to their position in the food web. Fish and leeches occupying the top of the food web accumulated more PCBs than organisms occupying a lower trophic position (crayfish and oligochaetes/chironomids), indicating that biomagnification through trophic transfer (i.e., the uptake of a chemical through ingestion) is the primary mechanism governing contaminant levels in biota and not bioconcentration (i.e, the uptake of a chemical from water).

  13. Application of information theory methods to food web reconstruction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moniz, L.J.; Cooch, E.G.; Ellner, S.P.; Nichols, J.D.; Nichols, J.M.

    2007-01-01

    In this paper we use information theory techniques on time series of abundances to determine the topology of a food web. At the outset, the food web participants (two consumers, two resources) are known; in addition we know that each consumer prefers one of the resources over the other. However, we do not know which consumer prefers which resource, and if this preference is absolute (i.e., whether or not the consumer will consume the non-preferred resource). Although the consumers and resources are identified at the beginning of the experiment, we also provide evidence that the consumers are not resources for each other, and the resources do not consume each other. We do show that there is significant mutual information between resources; the model is seasonally forced and some shared information between resources is expected. Similarly, because the model is seasonally forced, we expect shared information between consumers as they respond to the forcing of the resources. The model that we consider does include noise, and in an effort to demonstrate that these methods may be of some use in other than model data, we show the efficacy of our methods with decreasing time series size; in this particular case we obtain reasonably clear results with a time series length of 400 points. This approaches ecological time series lengths from real systems.

  14. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons alter the structure of oceanic and oligotrophic microbial food webs.

    PubMed

    Cerezo, Maria Isabel; Agusti, Susana

    2015-12-30

    One way organic pollutants reach remote oceanic regions is by atmospheric transport. During the Malaspina-2010 expedition, across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, we analyzed the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) effects on oceanic microbial food webs. We performed perturbation experiments adding PAHs to classic dilution experiments. The phytoplankton growth rates were reduced by more than 5 times, being Prochlorococcus spp. the most affected. 62% of the experiments showed a reduction in the grazing rates due to the presence of PAHs. For the remaining experiments, grazing usually increased likely due to cascading effects. We identified changes in the slope of the relation between the growth rate and the dilution fraction induced by the pollutants, moving from no grazing to V-shape, or to negative slope, indicative of grazing increase by cascade effects and alterations of the grazers' activity structure. Our perturbation experiments indicate that PAHs could influence the structure oceanic food-webs structure. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Impact of biodiversity loss on production in complex marine food webs mitigated by prey-release.

    PubMed

    Fung, Tak; Farnsworth, Keith D; Reid, David G; Rossberg, Axel G

    2015-03-23

    Public concern over biodiversity loss is often rationalized as a threat to ecosystem functioning, but biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relations are hard to empirically quantify at large scales. We use a realistic marine food-web model, resolving species over five trophic levels, to study how total fish production changes with species richness. This complex model predicts that BEF relations, on average, follow simple Michaelis-Menten curves when species are randomly deleted. These are shaped mainly by release of fish from predation, rather than the release from competition expected from simpler communities. Ordering species deletions by decreasing body mass or trophic level, representing 'fishing down the food web', accentuates prey-release effects and results in unimodal relationships. In contrast, simultaneous unselective harvesting diminishes these effects and produces an almost linear BEF relation, with maximum multispecies fisheries yield at ≈40% of initial species richness. These findings have important implications for the valuation of marine biodiversity.

  16. Mercury bioaccumulation and trophic transfer in the terrestrial food web of a montane forest.

    PubMed

    Rimmer, Christopher C; Miller, Eric K; McFarland, Kent P; Taylor, Robert J; Faccio, Steven D

    2010-04-01

    We investigated mercury (Hg) concentrations in a terrestrial food web in high elevation forests in Vermont. Hg concentrations increased from autotrophic organisms to herbivores < detritivores < omnivores < carnivores. Within the carnivores studied, raptors had higher blood Hg concentrations than their songbird prey. The Hg concentration in the blood of the focal study species, Bicknell's thrush (Catharus bicknelli), varied over the course of the summer in response to a diet shift related to changing availability of arthropod prey. The Bicknell's thrush food web is more detrital-based (with higher Hg concentrations) in early summer and more foliage-based (with lower Hg concentrations) during late summer. There were significant year effects in different ecosystem compartments indicating a possible connection between atmospheric Hg deposition, detrital-layer Hg concentrations, arthropod Hg concentrations, and passerine blood Hg concentrations.

  17. Food web structure and the evolution of ecological communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quince, Christopher; Higgs, Paul G.; McKane, Alan J.

    Simulations of the coevolution of many interacting species are performed using the Webworld model. The model has a realistic set of predator-prey equations that describe the population dynamics of the species for any structure of the food web. The equations account for competition between species for the same resources, and for the diet choice of predators between alternative prey according to an evolutionarily stable strategy. The set of species present undergoes long-term evolution d ue to speciation and extinction events. We summarize results obtained on the macro-evolutionary dynamics of speciations and extinctions, and on the statistical properties of the food webs that are generated by the model. Simulations begin from small numbers of species and build up to larger webs with relatively constant species number on average. The rate of origination and extinction of species are relatively high, but remain roughly balanced throughout the simulations. When a 'parent' species undergoes sp eciation, the 'child' species usually adds to the same trophic level as the parent. The chance of the child species surviving is significantly higher if the parent is on the second or third trophic level than if it is on the first level, most likely due to a wider choice of possible prey for species on higher levels. Addition of a new species sometimes causes extinction of existing species. The parent species has a high probability of extinction because it has strong competition with the new species. Non-pa rental competitors of the new species also have a significantly higher extinction probability than average, as do prey of the new species. Predators of the new species are less likely than average to become extinct.

  18. Nitrogen addition and warming independently influence the belowground micro-food web in a temperate steppe.

    PubMed

    Li, Qi; Bai, Huahua; Liang, Wenju; Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang; van der Putten, Wim H

    2013-01-01

    Climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition are known to influence ecosystem structure and functioning. However, our understanding of the interactive effect of these global changes on ecosystem functioning is relatively limited, especially when it concerns the responses of soils and soil organisms. We conducted a field experiment to study the interactive effects of warming and N addition on soil food web. The experiment was established in 2006 in a temperate steppe in northern China. After three to four years (2009-2010), we found that N addition positively affected microbial biomass and negatively influenced trophic group and ecological indices of soil nematodes. However, the warming effects were less obvious, only fungal PLFA showed a decreasing trend under warming. Interestingly, the influence of N addition did not depend on warming. Structural equation modeling analysis suggested that the direct pathway between N addition and soil food web components were more important than the indirect connections through alterations in soil abiotic characters or plant growth. Nitrogen enrichment also affected the soil nematode community indirectly through changes in soil pH and PLFA. We conclude that experimental warming influenced soil food web components of the temperate steppe less than N addition, and there was little influence of warming on N addition effects under these experimental conditions.

  19. Diet breadth influences how the impact of invasive plants is propagated through food webs.

    PubMed

    Carvalheiro, Luisa G; Buckley, Yvonne M; Memmott, Jane

    2010-04-01

    Invasive plants are considered a major cause of ecosystem degradation worldwide. While their impacts on native plants have been widely reported, there is little information on how these impacts propagate through food webs and affect species at higher trophic levels. Using a quantitative food web approach we evaluated the impacts of an invasive plant on plant-herbivore-parasitoid communities, asking specifically how diet breadth influences the propagation of such impacts. Measuring the impact of the alien plant at the plant level seriously underestimated the community-level effect of this weed as it also caused changes in the abundance of native herbivores and parasitoids, along with a decrease in parasitoid species richness. The invading plant affected specialist and generalist subsets of communities differently, having significant and strong negative impacts on the abundance of all specialists with no negative effect on generalist consumers. Specialist consumer decline led to further disruptions of top-down regulatory mechanisms, releasing generalist species from competition via shared natural enemies. Plant invasion also significantly increased the evenness of species abundance of all trophic levels in the food webs, as well as the evenness of species interaction frequency. Extending impact evaluation to higher trophic levels and considering changes in trophic diversity within levels is hence essential for a full evaluation of the consequences of invasion by alien plants. Moreover, information on diet breadth of species in the invaded community should be taken into account when evaluating/predicting the impacts on any introduced species.

  20. Nitrogen Addition and Warming Independently Influence the Belowground Micro-Food Web in a Temperate Steppe

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qi; Bai, Huahua; Liang, Wenju; Xia, Jianyang; Wan, Shiqiang; van der Putten, Wim H.

    2013-01-01

    Climate warming and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition are known to influence ecosystem structure and functioning. However, our understanding of the interactive effect of these global changes on ecosystem functioning is relatively limited, especially when it concerns the responses of soils and soil organisms. We conducted a field experiment to study the interactive effects of warming and N addition on soil food web. The experiment was established in 2006 in a temperate steppe in northern China. After three to four years (2009–2010), we found that N addition positively affected microbial biomass and negatively influenced trophic group and ecological indices of soil nematodes. However, the warming effects were less obvious, only fungal PLFA showed a decreasing trend under warming. Interestingly, the influence of N addition did not depend on warming. Structural equation modeling analysis suggested that the direct pathway between N addition and soil food web components were more important than the indirect connections through alterations in soil abiotic characters or plant growth. Nitrogen enrichment also affected the soil nematode community indirectly through changes in soil pH and PLFA. We conclude that experimental warming influenced soil food web components of the temperate steppe less than N addition, and there was little influence of warming on N addition effects under these experimental conditions. PMID:23544140

  1. Modelling size structured food webs using a modified niche model with two predator traits.

    PubMed

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The structure of food webs is frequently described using phenomenological stochastic models. A prominent example, the niche model, was found to produce artificial food webs resembling real food webs according to a range of summary statistics. However, the size structure of food webs generated by the niche model and real food webs has not yet been rigorously compared. To fill this void, I use a body mass based version of the niche model and compare prey-predator body mass allometry and predator-prey body mass ratios predicted by the model to empirical data. The results show that the model predicts weaker size structure than observed in many real food webs. I introduce a modified version of the niche model which allows to control the strength of size-dependence of predator-prey links. In this model, optimal prey body mass depends allometrically on predator body mass and on a second trait, such as foraging mode. These empirically motivated extensions of the model allow to represent size structure of real food webs realistically and can be used to generate artificial food webs varying in several aspects of size structure in a controlled way. Hence, by explicitly including the role of species traits, this model provides new opportunities for simulating the consequences of size structure for food web dynamics and stability.

  2. Modelling Size Structured Food Webs Using a Modified Niche Model with Two Predator Traits

    PubMed Central

    Klecka, Jan

    2014-01-01

    The structure of food webs is frequently described using phenomenological stochastic models. A prominent example, the niche model, was found to produce artificial food webs resembling real food webs according to a range of summary statistics. However, the size structure of food webs generated by the niche model and real food webs has not yet been rigorously compared. To fill this void, I use a body mass based version of the niche model and compare prey-predator body mass allometry and predator-prey body mass ratios predicted by the model to empirical data. The results show that the model predicts weaker size structure than observed in many real food webs. I introduce a modified version of the niche model which allows to control the strength of size-dependence of predator-prey links. In this model, optimal prey body mass depends allometrically on predator body mass and on a second trait, such as foraging mode. These empirically motivated extensions of the model allow to represent size structure of real food webs realistically and can be used to generate artificial food webs varying in several aspects of size structure in a controlled way. Hence, by explicitly including the role of species traits, this model provides new opportunities for simulating the consequences of size structure for food web dynamics and stability. PMID:25119999

  3. Fatty acids as biomarkers for food web structure in the eastern North Pacific Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Behrens, J.; Aluwihare, L.; Stephens, B. M.

    2015-12-01

    Resulting from a NSF funded REU program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2015, this research utilized gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze the fatty acid composition of suspended particulate organic matter (POM) and zooplankton (ZP; primarily copepods). Samples analyzed for this study were collected simultaneously from surface waters approximately 9 miles off the coast of San Diego in June 2015. I was testing the hypothesis that essential fatty acids in ZP should reflect their diet, in particular, distinguishing contributions from a microbial versus traditional food web. Food web structure in this region of the ocean has been shown to be sensitive to climate change on inter-annual and longer timescales. Thus, a proxy that identifies restructuring of food webs would be useful for examining the response of ocean ecosystems to future climate change. Lipids were extracted from ZP and POM using a modified Bligh and Dyer method with sonication. Following saponification free fatty acids and other lipids were further purified using column chromatography. Polar functional groups in lipids were then methylated prior to GC-MS analysis. In addition, 2-dimensional GCxGC with time of flight MS was used to distinguish polyunsaturated fatty acid isomers. My poster will present initial findings of shared fatty acids of zooplankton and POM suspended material from the Northern Pacific collection site. Further research will be focused on analyzing the hydrogen isotope composition of fatty acids in zooplankton and suspended DOM obtained at the collection site to further characterize and increase certainty on the role of microbes and phytoplankton in the region's food-web to distinguish prokaryotic and eukaryotic sources.

  4. Food webs and physical biological coupling on pan-Arctic shelves: Unifying concepts and comprehensive perspectives

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carmack, Eddy; Wassmann, Paul

    2006-10-01

    Perhaps more than in any other ocean, our understanding of the continental shelves of the Arctic Mediterranean is decidedly disciplinary, regional and fractured, and this shortcoming must be addressed if we are to face and prepare for climate change. A fundamental flaw is that while excellent process studies exist, and while recent ship-based expeditions have added greatly to our collective body of knowledge, an integrated and fully pan-Arctic perspective on the structure and function of food webs on Arctic shelves is lacking. Based on the collective overviews given in Progress in Oceanography xx, xx-xx, we attempt to address this issue. To build a perspective that inter-connects the various shelf regions we suggest three unifying typologies affecting food webs that will hopefully allow inter-comparison of regional investigations. The first is for shelf geography, wherein shelves are classified according to their role in the Arctic throughflow. The second is for ice climate, wherein the various ice regimes are examined for their specific impacts on food web dynamics. The third is for stratification where it is argued that the source of buoyancy, thermal or haline, impacts production and the vertical carbon flux. We then address the connection between physical habitat and biota on pan-Arctic (and global climate) scales. This discussion begins with the recognition that the Arctic Ocean is integral to the World Ocean via its thermohaline (“estuarine”) exchanges with the Atlantic and Pacific. As such the Arctic and its shelves act as a double estuary, wherein incoming waters become both lighter (positive estuary), by mixing with freshwater sources, and heavier (negative estuary) by cooling and brine release. Shelves are central to such transformations. This complex interconnectivity coupling of the Arctic Ocean to its sub-Arctic (and more productive) neighbors demands that food webs be considered through a macroecological view that includes an ecology of advection

  5. The paradox of pelagic food webs in the northern Bering Sea—I. Seabird food habits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Springer, Alan M.; Murphy, Edward C.; Roseneau, David G.; McRoy, C. Peter; Cooper, Brian A.

    1987-08-01

    Two distinct environmental settings in the Bering Strait region of the northern Bering Sea lead to characteristic pathways of energy flow through primarily pelagic food webs to avian consumers. In Norton Sound, a large, shallow embayment on the northeastern coast, the physical environment is dominated by the discharge of the Yukon River and by a large seasonal temperature signal. Seabirds breeding at Bluff, the largest colony in Norton Sound, number in the order of 5 × 10 4 and require 1.2 × 10 6 g C d -1. Two piscivorous species constitute the bulk of all seabirds there and are supported by a pelagic food web typical of the coastal zone of the Bering and Chukchi seas. This food web also is present around St. Lawrence Island, on the northwestern shelf, and is important to at least one species of seabird there. In addition, and generally more important, St. Lawrence Island is in a biologically rich environment resulting from the northward flow of water that originates along the continental shelf break of the Bering Sea. This flow apparently accounts for the unexpected presence of oceanic zooplankton and a diversity of forage fishes on the shallow northern shelf that support an abundant and taxonomically rich avifauna. In comparison to Norton Sound, breeding seabirds on St. Lawrence Island number in the order of 2 × 10 6, with planktivores consuming about 8 × 10 6 g C d -1 and piscivores consuming about 16 × 10 6 g C d -1.

  6. Spatial scales of carbon flow in a river food web

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Finlay, J.C.; Khandwala, S.; Power, M.E.

    2002-01-01

    Spatial extents of food webs that support stream and river consumers are largely unknown, but such information is essential for basic understanding and management of lotic ecosystems. We used predictable variation in algal ??13C with water velocity, and measurements of consumer ??13C and ??15N to examine carbon flow and trophic structure in food webs of the South Fork Eel River in Northern California. Analyses of ??13C showed that the most abundant macroinvertebrate groups (collector-gatherers and scrapers) relied on algae from local sources within their riffle or shallow pool habitats. In contrast, filter-feeding invertebrates in riffles relied in part on algal production derived from upstream shallow pools. Riffle invertebrate predators also relied in part on consumers of pool-derived algal carbon. One abundant taxon drifting from shallow pools and riffles (baetid mayflies) relied on algal production derived from the habitats from which they dispersed. The trophic linkage from pool algae to riffle invertebrate predators was thus mediated through either predation on pool herbivores dispersing into riffles, or on filter feeders. Algal production in shallow pool habitats dominated the resource base of vertebrate predators in all habitats at the end of the summer. We could not distinguish between the trophic roles of riffle algae and terrestrial detritus, but both carbon sources appeared to play minor roles for vertebrate consumers. In shallow pools, small vertebrates, including three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), roach (Hesperoleucas symmetricus), and rough-skinned newts (Taricha granulosa), relied on invertebrate prey derived from local pool habitats. During the most productive summer period, growth of all size classes of steelhead and resident rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in all habitats (shallow pools, riffles, and deep unproductive pools) was largely derived from algal production in shallow pools. Preliminary data suggest that the strong

  7. Networks within networks: floods, droughts, and the assembly of algal-based food webs in a Mediterranean river

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Power, M. E.; Limm, M.; Finlay, J. C.; Welter, J.; Furey, P.; Lowe, R.; Hondzo, M.; Dietrich, W. E.; Bode, C. A.; National CenterEarth Surface Dynamics

    2011-12-01

    Riverine biota live within several networks. Organisms are embedded in food webs, whose structure and dynamics respond to environmental changes down river drainages. In sunlit rivers, food webs are fueled by attached algae. Primary producer biomass in the Eel River of Northwestern California, as in many sunlit, temperate rivers worldwide, is dominated by the macroalga Cladophora, which grows as a hierarchical, branched network. Cladophora proliferations vastly amplify the ecological surface area and the diversity microhabitats available to microbes. Environmental conditions (light, substrate age or stability, flow, redox gradients) change in partially predictable ways along both Cladophora fronds and river drainage networks, from the frond tips (or headwaters) to their base (or river mouth). We are interested in the ecological and biogeochemical consequences, at the catchment scale, of cross-scale interactions of microbial food webs on Cladophora with macro-organismal food webs, as these change down river drainages. We are beginning to explore how seasonal, hydrologic and macro-consumer control over the production and fate of Cladophora and its epiphytes could mediate ecosystem linkages of the river, its watershed, and nearshore marine ecosystems. Of the four interacting networks we consider, the web of microbial interactions is the most poorly known, and possibly the least hierarchical due to the prevalence of metabolic processing chains (waste products of some members become resources for others) and mutualisms.

  8. Cross-ecosystem impacts of stream pollution reduce resource and contaminant flux to riparian food webs.

    PubMed

    Kraus, Johanna M; Schmidt, Travis S; Walters, David M; Wanty, Richard B; Zuellig, Robert E; Wolf, Ruth E

    2014-03-01

    The effects of aquatic contaminants are propagated across ecosystem boundaries by aquatic insects that export resources and contaminants to terrestrial food webs; however, the mechanisms driving these effects are poorly understood. We examined how emergence, contaminant concentration, and total contaminant flux by adult aquatic insects changed over a gradient of bioavailable metals in streams and how these changes affected riparian web-building spiders. Insect emergence decreased 97% over the metal gradient, whereas metal concentrations in adult insects changed relatively little. As a result, total metal exported by insects (flux) was lowest at the most contaminated streams, declining 96% among sites. Spiders were affected by the decrease in prey biomass, but not by metal exposure or metal flux to land in aquatic prey. Aquatic insects are increasingly thought to increase exposure of terrestrial consumers to aquatic contaminants, but stream metals reduce contaminant flux to riparian consumers by strongly impacting the resource linkage. Our results demonstrate the importance of understanding the contaminant-specific effects of aquatic pollutants on adult insect emergence and contaminant accumulation in adults to predict impacts on terrestrial food webs.

  9. Cross-ecosystem impacts of stream pollution reduce resource and contaminant flux to riparian food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kraus, Johanna M.; Schmidt, Travis S.; Walters, David; Wanty, Richard B.; Zuellig, Robert E.; Wolf, Ruth E.

    2014-01-01

    The effects of aquatic contaminants are propagated across ecosystem boundaries by aquatic insects that export resources and contaminants to terrestrial food webs; however, the mechanisms driving these effects are poorly understood. We examined how emergence, contaminant concentration, and total contaminant flux by adult aquatic insects changed over a gradient of bioavailable metals in streams and how these changes affected riparian web-building spiders. Insect emergence decreased 97% over the metal gradient, whereas metal concentrations in adult insects changed relatively little. As a result, total metal exported by insects (flux) was lowest at the most contaminated streams, declining 96% among sites. Spiders were affected by the decrease in prey biomass, but not by metal exposure or metal flux to land in aquatic prey. Aquatic insects are increasingly thought to increase exposure of terrestrial consumers to aquatic contaminants, but stream metals reduce contaminant flux to riparian consumers by strongly impacting the resource linkage. Our results demonstrate the importance of understanding the contaminant-specific effects of aquatic pollutants on adult insect emergence and contaminant accumulation in adults to predict impacts on terrestrial food webs.

  10. Disruption of the lower food web in Lake Ontario: Did it affect alewife growth or condition?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Gorman, R.; Prindle, S.E.; Lantry, J.R.; Lantry, B.F.

    2008-01-01

    From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, a succession of non-native invertebrates colonized Lake Ontario and the suite of consequences caused by their colonization became known as "food web disruption". For example, the native burrowing amphipod Diporeia spp., a key link in the profundal food web, declined to near absence, exotic predaceous cladocerans with long spines proliferated, altering the zooplankton community, and depth distributions of fishes shifted. These changes had the potential to affect growth and condition of planktivorous alewife Alosa pseudoharengus, the most abundant fish in the lake. To determine if food web disruption affected alewife, we used change-point analysis to examine alewife growth and adult alewife condition during 1976-2006 and analysis-of-variance to determine if values between change points differed significantly. There were no change points in growth during the first year of life. Of three change points in growth during the second year of life, one coincided with the shift in springtime distribution of alewife to deeper water but it was not associated with a significant change in growth. After the second year of life, no change points in growth were evident, although growth in the third year of life spiked in those years when Bythotrephes, the largest of the exotic cladocerans, was abundant suggesting that it was a profitable prey item for age-2 fish. We detected two change points in condition of adult alewife in fall, but the first occurred in 1981, well before disruption began. A second change point occurred in 2003, well after disruption began. After the springtime distribution of alewife shifted deeper during 1992-1994, growth in the first two years of life became more variable, and growth in years of life two and older became correlated (P < 0.05). In conclusion, food web disruption had no negative affect on growth and condition of alewife in Lake Ontario although it appears to have resulted in growth in the first two years of

  11. The response of the soil microbial food web to extreme rainfall under different plant systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Feng; Pan, Kaiwen; Tariq, Akash; Zhang, Lin; Sun, Xiaoming; Li, Zilong; Wang, Sizhong; Xiong, Qinli; Song, Dagang; Olatunji, Olusanya Abiodun

    2016-11-01

    An agroforestry experiment was conducted that involved four planting systems: monoculture of the focal species Zanthoxylum bungeanum and mixed cultures of Z. bungeanum and Capsicum annuum, Z. bungeanum and Medicago sativa and Z. bungeanum and Glycine max. Soil microbial food web (microorganisms and nematodes) was investigated under manipulated extreme rainfall in the four planting systems to assess whether presence of neighbor species alleviated the magnitude of extreme rainfall on nutrient uptake of the focal species by increasing the stability of soil food web. Our results indicate that in the focal species and G. max mixed culture, leaf nitrogen contents of the focal species were higher than in the monoculture and in the other mixed cultures under extreme rainfall. This result was mainly due to the significant increase under extreme rainfall of G. max species root biomass, resulting in enhanced microbial resistance and subsequent net nitrogen mineralization rate and leaf nitrogen uptake for the focal species. Differences in functional traits of neighbors had additive effects and led to a marked divergence of soil food-web resistance and nutrient uptake of the focal species. Climate change can indirectly alleviate focal species via its influence on their neighbors.

  12. The response of the soil microbial food web to extreme rainfall under different plant systems

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Feng; Pan, Kaiwen; Tariq, Akash; Zhang, Lin; Sun, Xiaoming; Li, Zilong; Wang, Sizhong; Xiong, Qinli; Song, Dagang; Olatunji, Olusanya Abiodun

    2016-01-01

    An agroforestry experiment was conducted that involved four planting systems: monoculture of the focal species Zanthoxylum bungeanum and mixed cultures of Z. bungeanum and Capsicum annuum, Z. bungeanum and Medicago sativa and Z. bungeanum and Glycine max. Soil microbial food web (microorganisms and nematodes) was investigated under manipulated extreme rainfall in the four planting systems to assess whether presence of neighbor species alleviated the magnitude of extreme rainfall on nutrient uptake of the focal species by increasing the stability of soil food web. Our results indicate that in the focal species and G. max mixed culture, leaf nitrogen contents of the focal species were higher than in the monoculture and in the other mixed cultures under extreme rainfall. This result was mainly due to the significant increase under extreme rainfall of G. max species root biomass, resulting in enhanced microbial resistance and subsequent net nitrogen mineralization rate and leaf nitrogen uptake for the focal species. Differences in functional traits of neighbors had additive effects and led to a marked divergence of soil food-web resistance and nutrient uptake of the focal species. Climate change can indirectly alleviate focal species via its influence on their neighbors. PMID:27874081

  13. Metamorphosis alters contaminants and chemical tracers in insects: implications for food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kraus, Johanna M.; Walters, David M.; Wesner, Jeff S.; Stricker, Craig A.; Schmidt, Travis S.; Zuellig, Robert E.

    2014-01-01

    Insects are integral to most freshwater and terrestrial food webs, but due to their accumulation of environmental pollutants they are also contaminant vectors that threaten reproduction, development, and survival of consumers. Metamorphosis from larvae to adult can cause large chemical changes in insects, altering contaminant concentrations and fractionation of chemical tracers used to establish contaminant biomagnification in food webs, but no framework exists for predicting and managing these effects. We analyzed data from 39 studies of 68 analytes (stable isotopes and contaminants), and found that metamorphosis effects varied greatly. δ15N, widely used to estimate relative trophic position in biomagnification studies, was enriched by 1‰ during metamorphosis, while δ13C used to estimate diet, was similar in larvae and adults. Metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were predominantly lost during metamorphosis leading to 2 to 125-fold higher larval concentrations and higher exposure risks for predators of larvae compared to predators of adults. In contrast, manufactured organic contaminants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls) were retained and concentrated in adults, causing up to 3-fold higher adult concentrations and higher exposure risks to predators of adult insects. Both food web studies and contaminant management and mitigation strategies need to consider how metamorphosis affects the movement of materials between habitats and ecosystems, with special regard for aquatic-terrestrial linkages.

  14. Metamorphosis alters contaminants and chemical tracers in insects: implications for food webs.

    PubMed

    Kraus, Johanna M; Walters, David M; Wesner, Jeff S; Stricker, Craig A; Schmidt, Travis S; Zuellig, Robert E

    2014-09-16

    Insects are integral to most freshwater and terrestrial food webs, but due to their accumulation of environmental pollutants they are also contaminant vectors that threaten reproduction, development, and survival of consumers. Metamorphosis from larvae to adult can cause large chemical changes in insects, altering contaminant concentrations and fractionation of chemical tracers used to establish contaminant biomagnification in food webs, but no framework exists for predicting and managing these effects. We analyzed data from 39 studies of 68 analytes (stable isotopes and contaminants), and found that metamorphosis effects varied greatly. δ(15)N, widely used to estimate relative trophic position in biomagnification studies, was enriched by ∼ 1‰ during metamorphosis, while δ(13)C used to estimate diet, was similar in larvae and adults. Metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were predominantly lost during metamorphosis leading to ∼ 2 to 125-fold higher larval concentrations and higher exposure risks for predators of larvae compared to predators of adults. In contrast, manufactured organic contaminants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls) were retained and concentrated in adults, causing up to ∼ 3-fold higher adult concentrations and higher exposure risks to predators of adult insects. Both food web studies and contaminant management and mitigation strategies need to consider how metamorphosis affects the movement of materials between habitats and ecosystems, with special regard for aquatic-terrestrial linkages.

  15. Evolution mediates the effects of apex predation on aquatic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Urban, Mark C.

    2013-01-01

    Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms are increasingly thought to shape local community dynamics. Here, I evaluate if the local adaptation of a meso-predator to an apex predator alters local food webs. The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) is an apex predator that consumes both the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) and shared zooplankton prey. Common garden experiments reveal that spotted salamander populations which co-occur with marbled salamanders forage more intensely than those that face other predator species. These foraging differences, in turn, alter the diversity, abundance and composition of zooplankton communities in common garden experiments and natural ponds. Locally adapted spotted salamanders exacerbate prey biomass declines associated with apex predation, but dampen the top-down effects of apex predation on prey diversity. Countergradient selection on foraging explains why locally adapted spotted salamanders exacerbate prey biomass declines. The two salamander species prefer different prey species, which explains why adapted spotted salamanders buffer changes in prey composition owing to apex predation. Results suggest that local adaptation can strongly mediate effects from apex predation on local food webs. Community ecologists might often need to consider the evolutionary history of populations to understand local diversity patterns, food web dynamics, resource gradients and their responses to disturbance. PMID:23720548

  16. Evolution mediates the effects of apex predation on aquatic food webs.

    PubMed

    Urban, Mark C

    2013-07-22

    Ecological and evolutionary mechanisms are increasingly thought to shape local community dynamics. Here, I evaluate if the local adaptation of a meso-predator to an apex predator alters local food webs. The marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) is an apex predator that consumes both the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) and shared zooplankton prey. Common garden experiments reveal that spotted salamander populations which co-occur with marbled salamanders forage more intensely than those that face other predator species. These foraging differences, in turn, alter the diversity, abundance and composition of zooplankton communities in common garden experiments and natural ponds. Locally adapted spotted salamanders exacerbate prey biomass declines associated with apex predation, but dampen the top-down effects of apex predation on prey diversity. Countergradient selection on foraging explains why locally adapted spotted salamanders exacerbate prey biomass declines. The two salamander species prefer different prey species, which explains why adapted spotted salamanders buffer changes in prey composition owing to apex predation. Results suggest that local adaptation can strongly mediate effects from apex predation on local food webs. Community ecologists might often need to consider the evolutionary history of populations to understand local diversity patterns, food web dynamics, resource gradients and their responses to disturbance.

  17. Food and Beverage Brands that Market to Children and Adolescents on the Internet: A Content Analysis of Branded Web Sites

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henry, Anna E.; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

    Objective: To identify food and beverage brand Web sites featuring designated children's areas, assess marketing techniques present on those industry Web sites, and determine nutritional quality of branded food items marketed to children. Design: Systematic content analysis of food and beverage brand Web sites and nutrient analysis of food and…

  18. Food and Beverage Brands that Market to Children and Adolescents on the Internet: A Content Analysis of Branded Web Sites

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Henry, Anna E.; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

    Objective: To identify food and beverage brand Web sites featuring designated children's areas, assess marketing techniques present on those industry Web sites, and determine nutritional quality of branded food items marketed to children. Design: Systematic content analysis of food and beverage brand Web sites and nutrient analysis of food and…

  19. The probabilistic niche model reveals substantial variation in the niche structure of empirical food webs.

    PubMed

    Williams, Richard J; Purves, Drew W

    2011-09-01

    The structure of food webs, complex networks of interspecies feeding interactions, plays a crucial role in ecosystem resilience and function, and understanding food web structure remains a central problem in ecology. Previous studies have shown that key features of empirical food webs can be reproduced by low-dimensional "niche" models. Here we examine the form and variability of food web niche structure by fitting a probabilistic niche model to 37 empirical food webs, a much larger number of food webs than used in previous studies. The model relaxes previous assumptions about parameter distributions and hierarchy and returns parameter estimates for each species in each web. The model significantly outperforms previous niche model variants and also performs well for several webs where a body-size-based niche model performs poorly, implying that traits other than body size are important in structuring these webs' niche space. Parameter estimates frequently violate previous models' assumptions: in 19 of 37 webs, parameter values are not significantly hierarchical, 32 of 37 webs have nonuniform niche value distributions, and 15 of 37 webs lack a correlation between niche width and niche position. Extending the model to a two-dimensional niche space yields networks with a mixture of one- and two-dimensional niches and provides a significantly better fit for webs with a large number of species and links. These results confirm that food webs are strongly niche-structured but reveal substantial variation in the form of the niche structuring, a result with fundamental implications for ecosystem resilience and function.

  20. Global multi-level analysis of the 'scientific food web'.

    PubMed

    Mazloumian, Amin; Helbing, Dirk; Lozano, Sergi; Light, Robert P; Börner, Katy

    2013-01-01

    We introduce a network-based index analyzing excess scientific production and consumption to perform a comprehensive global analysis of scholarly knowledge production and diffusion on the level of continents, countries, and cities. Compared to measures of scientific production and consumption such as number of publications or citation rates, our network-based citation analysis offers a more differentiated picture of the 'ecosystem of science'. Quantifying knowledge flows between 2000 and 2009, we identify global sources and sinks of knowledge production. Our knowledge flow index reveals, where ideas are born and consumed, thereby defining a global 'scientific food web'. While Asia is quickly catching up in terms of publications and citation rates, we find that its dependence on knowledge consumption has further increased.

  1. Biological vs. Physical Mixing Effects on Benthic Food Web Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Braeckman, Ulrike; Provoost, Pieter; Moens, Tom; Soetaert, Karline; Middelburg, Jack J.; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2011-01-01

    Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The 13C labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Δδ13C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom 13C was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (µg C m−2), which included TO13C remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source for

  2. Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics.

    PubMed

    Braeckman, Ulrike; Provoost, Pieter; Moens, Tom; Soetaert, Karline; Middelburg, Jack J; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2011-03-24

    Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The (13)C labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Δδ(13)C) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom (13)C was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (µg C m(-2)), which included TO(13)C remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source

  3. Shifts in the trophic base of intermittent stream food webs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dekar, Matthew P.; Magoulick, Daniel D.; Huxel, G.R.

    2009-01-01

    Understanding spatial and temporal variation in the trophic base of stream food webs is critical for predicting population and community stability, and ecosystem function. We used stable isotope ratios (13C/12C, and 15N/14N) to characterize the trophic base of two streams in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, U.S.A. We predicted that autochthonous resources would be more important during the spring and summer and allochthonous resources would be more important in the winter due to increased detritus inputs from the riparian zone during autumn leaf drop. We predicted that stream communities would demonstrate increased reliance on autochthonous resources at sites with larger watersheds and greater canopy openness. The study was conducted at three low-order sites in the Mulberry River Drainage (watershed area range: 81-232 km2) seasonally in 2006 and 2007. We used circular statistics to examine community-wide shifts in isotope space among fish and invertebrate consumers in relation to basal resources, including detritus and periphyton. Mixing models were used to quantify the relative contribution of autochthonous and allochthonous energy sources to individual invertebrate consumers. Significant isotopic shifts occurred but results varied by season and site indicating substantial variation in the trophic base of stream food webs. In terms of temporal variation, consumers shifted toward periphyton in the summer during periods of low discharge, but results varied during the interval between summer and winter. Our results did not demonstrate increased reliance on periphyton with increasing watershed area or canopy openness, and detritus was important at all the sites. In our study, riffle-pool geomorphology likely disrupted the expected spatial pattern and stream drying likely impacted the availability and distribution of basal resources.

  4. Comparison of the structure of lower and upper estuary food webs for Yaquina Bay (OR)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Food web models can be used to estimate effects of water quality, habitat distribution or species loss on productivity, carbon flow and ecosystem service production in Pacific NW estuaries. Here we present a comparison of floral and faunal data used to parameterize food web mode...

  5. Developing a broader scientific foundation for river restoration: Columbia River food webs

    Treesearch

    Robert J. Naiman; J. Richard Alldredge; David A. Beauchamp; Peter A. Bisson; James Congleton; Charles J. Henny; Nancy Huntly; Roland Lamberson; Colin Levings; Erik N. Merrill; William G. Pearcy; Bruce E. Rieman; Gregory T. Ruggerone; Dennis Scarnecchia; Peter E. Smouse; Chris C. Wood

    2012-01-01

    Well-functioning food webs are fundamental for sustaining rivers as ecosystems and maintaining associated aquatic and terrestrial communities. The current emphasis on restoring habitat structure-without explicitly considering food webs-has been less successful than hoped in terms of enhancing the status of targeted species and often overlooks important constraints on...

  6. High-resolution food webs based on nitrogen isotopic composition of amino acids

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Food webs are known to have myriad trophic links between resource and consumer species. However, since the difficulties associated with characterizing the trophic position of organisms—particularly omnivores and higher-order consumers—have remained a major problem in food web ecology, our knowledge ...

  7. IMPORTANCE OF TEMPERATURE IN MODELLING PCB BIOACCUMULATION IN THE LAKE MICHIGAN FOOD WEB

    EPA Science Inventory

    In most food web models, the exposure temperature of a food web is typically defined using a single spatial compartment. This essentially assumes that the predator and prey are exposed to the same temperature. However, in a large water body such as Lake Michigan, due to the spati...

  8. Comparison of the structure of lower and upper estuary food webs for Yaquina Bay (OR)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Food web models can be used to estimate effects of water quality, habitat distribution or species loss on productivity, carbon flow and ecosystem service production in Pacific NW estuaries. Here we present a comparison of floral and faunal data used to parameterize food web mode...

  9. Can You Build It? Using Manipulatives to Assess Student Understanding of Food-Web Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grumbine, Richard

    2012-01-01

    This article outlines an exercise that assesses student knowledge of food-web and energy-flow concepts. Students work in teams and use manipulatives to build food-web models based on criteria assigned by the instructor. The models are then peer reviewed according to guidelines supplied by the instructor.

  10. Can You Build It? Using Manipulatives to Assess Student Understanding of Food-Web Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grumbine, Richard

    2012-01-01

    This article outlines an exercise that assesses student knowledge of food-web and energy-flow concepts. Students work in teams and use manipulatives to build food-web models based on criteria assigned by the instructor. The models are then peer reviewed according to guidelines supplied by the instructor.

  11. Benthic versus Planktonic Foundations of Three Lake Superior Coastal Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    The structure of aquatic food webs can provide information on system function, trophic dynamics and, potentially, responses to anthropogenic stressors. Stable isotope analyses in a Lake Superior coastal wetland (Allouez Bay, WI, USA) revealed that the food web was based upon carb...

  12. Benthic versus Planktonic Foundations of Three Lake Superior Coastal Food Webs

    EPA Science Inventory

    The structure of aquatic food webs can provide information on system function, trophic dynamics and, potentially, responses to anthropogenic stressors. Stable isotope analyses in a Lake Superior coastal wetland (Allouez Bay, WI, USA) revealed that the food web was based upon carb...

  13. IMPORTANCE OF TEMPERATURE IN MODELLING PCB BIOACCUMULATION IN THE LAKE MICHIGAN FOOD WEB

    EPA Science Inventory

    In most food web models, the exposure temperature of a food web is typically defined using a single spatial compartment. This essentially assumes that the predator and prey are exposed to the same temperature. However, in a large water body such as Lake Michigan, due to the spati...

  14. Food web de-synchronization in England's largest lake: an assessment based on multiple phenological metrics.

    PubMed

    Thackeray, Stephen J; Henrys, Peter A; Feuchtmayr, Heidrun; Jones, Ian D; Maberly, Stephen C; Winfield, Ian J

    2013-12-01

    Phenological changes have been observed globally for marine, freshwater and terrestrial species, and are an important element of the global biological 'fingerprint' of climate change. Differences in rates of change could desynchronize seasonal species interactions within a food web, threatening ecosystem functioning. Quantification of this risk is hampered by the rarity of long-term data for multiple interacting species from the same ecosystem and by the diversity of possible phenological metrics, which vary in their ecological relevance to food web interactions. We compare phenological change for phytoplankton (chlorophyll a), zooplankton (Daphnia) and fish (perch, Perca fluviatilis) in two basins of Windermere over 40 years and determine whether change has differed among trophic levels, while explicitly accounting for among-metric differences in rates of change. Though rates of change differed markedly among the nine metrics used, seasonal events shifted earlier for all metrics and trophic levels: zooplankton advanced most, and fish least, rapidly. Evidence of altered synchrony was found in both lake basins, when combining information from all phenological metrics. However, comparisons based on single metrics did not consistently detect this signal. A multimetric approach showed that across trophic levels, earlier phenological events have been associated with increasing water temperature. However, for phytoplankton and zooplankton, phenological change was also associated with changes in resource availability. Lower silicate, and higher phosphorus, concentrations were associated with earlier phytoplankton growth, and earlier phytoplankton growth was associated with earlier zooplankton growth. The developing trophic mismatch detected between the dominant fish species in Windermere and important zooplankton food resources may ultimately affect fish survival and portend significant impacts upon ecosystem functioning. We advocate that future studies on phenological

  15. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs.

    PubMed

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S

    2016-04-12

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry.

  16. Food webs: a ladder for picking strawberries or a practical tool for practical problems?

    PubMed

    Memmott, Jane

    2009-06-27

    While food webs have provided a rich vein of research material over the last 50 years, they have largely been the subject matter of the pure ecologist working in natural habitats. While there are some notable exceptions to this trend, there are, as I explain in this paper, many applied questions that could be answered using a food web approach. The paper is divided into two halves. The first half provides a brief review of six areas where food webs have begun to be used as an applied tool: restoration ecology, alien species, biological control, conservation ecology, habitat management and global warming. The second half outlines five areas in which a food web approach could prove very rewarding: urban ecology, agroecology, habitat fragmentation, cross-habitat food webs and ecosystem services.

  17. Consistent role of weak and strong interactions in high- and low-diversity trophic food webs

    PubMed Central

    Gellner, Gabriel; McCann, Kevin S.

    2016-01-01

    The growing realization of a looming biodiversity crisis has inspired considerable progress in the quest to link biodiversity, structure and ecosystem function. Here we construct a method that bridges low- and high-diversity approaches to food web theory by elucidating the connection between the stability of the basic building block of food webs and the mean stability properties of large random food web networks. Applying this theoretical framework to common food web models reveals two key findings. First, in almost all cases, high-diversity food web models yield a stability relationship between weak and strong interactions that are compatible in every way to simple low-diversity models. And second, the models that generate the recently discovered phenomena of being purely stabilized by increasing interaction strength correspond to the biologically implausible assumption of perfect interaction strength symmetry. PMID:27068000

  18. Food webs: a ladder for picking strawberries or a practical tool for practical problems?

    PubMed Central

    Memmott, Jane

    2009-01-01

    While food webs have provided a rich vein of research material over the last 50 years, they have largely been the subject matter of the pure ecologist working in natural habitats. While there are some notable exceptions to this trend, there are, as I explain in this paper, many applied questions that could be answered using a food web approach. The paper is divided into two halves. The first half provides a brief review of six areas where food webs have begun to be used as an applied tool: restoration ecology, alien species, biological control, conservation ecology, habitat management and global warming. The second half outlines five areas in which a food web approach could prove very rewarding: urban ecology, agroecology, habitat fragmentation, cross-habitat food webs and ecosystem services. PMID:19451120

  19. Non-Deterministic Modelling of Food-Web Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Planque, Benjamin; Lindstrøm, Ulf; Subbey, Sam

    2014-01-01

    A novel approach to model food-web dynamics, based on a combination of chance (randomness) and necessity (system constraints), was presented by Mullon et al. in 2009. Based on simulations for the Benguela ecosystem, they concluded that observed patterns of ecosystem variability may simply result from basic structural constraints within which the ecosystem functions. To date, and despite the importance of these conclusions, this work has received little attention. The objective of the present paper is to replicate this original model and evaluate the conclusions that were derived from its simulations. For this purpose, we revisit the equations and input parameters that form the structure of the original model and implement a comparable simulation model. We restate the model principles and provide a detailed account of the model structure, equations, and parameters. Our model can reproduce several ecosystem dynamic patterns: pseudo-cycles, variation and volatility, diet, stock-recruitment relationships, and correlations between species biomass series. The original conclusions are supported to a large extent by the current replication of the model. Model parameterisation and computational aspects remain difficult and these need to be investigated further. Hopefully, the present contribution will make this approach available to a larger research community and will promote the use of non-deterministic-network-dynamics models as ‘null models of food-webs’ as originally advocated. PMID:25299245

  20. The use of DNA barcodes in food web construction-terrestrial and aquatic ecologists unite!

    PubMed

    Roslin, Tomas; Majaneva, Sanna

    2016-09-01

    By depicting who eats whom, food webs offer descriptions of how groupings in nature (typically species or populations) are linked to each other. For asking questions on how food webs are built and work, we need descriptions of food webs at different levels of resolution. DNA techniques provide opportunities for highly resolved webs. In this paper, we offer an exposé of how DNA-based techniques, and DNA barcodes in particular, have recently been used to construct food web structure in both terrestrial and aquatic systems. We highlight how such techniques can be applied to simultaneously improve the taxonomic resolution of the nodes of the web (i.e., the species), and the links between them (i.e., who eats whom). We end by proposing how DNA barcodes and DNA information may allow new approaches to the construction of larger interaction webs, and overcome some hurdles to achieving adequate sample size. Most importantly, we propose that the joint adoption and development of these techniques may serve to unite approaches to food web studies in aquatic and terrestrial systems-revealing the extent to which food webs in these environments are structured similarly to or differently from each other, and how they are linked by dispersal.

  1. Parasites as prey in aquatic food webs: implications for predator infection and parasite transmission

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thieltges, David W.; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Hechinger, Ryan F.; Johnson, Pieter T.J.; Lafferty, Levin D.; Mouritsen, Kim N.; Preston, Daniel L.; Reise, Karsten; Zander, C. Dieter; Poulin, Robert

    2013-01-01

    While the recent inclusion of parasites into food-web studies has highlighted the role of parasites as consumers, there is accumulating evidence that parasites can also serve as prey for predators. Here we investigated empirical patterns of predation on parasites and their relationships with parasite transmission in eight topological food webs representing marine and freshwater ecosystems. Within each food web, we examined links in the typical predator–prey sub web as well as the predator–parasite sub web, i.e. the quadrant of the food web indicating which predators eat parasites. Most predator– parasite links represented ‘concomitant predation’ (consumption and death of a parasite along with the prey/host; 58–72%), followed by ‘trophic transmission’ (predator feeds on infected prey and becomes infected; 8–32%) and predation on free-living parasite life-cycle stages (4–30%). Parasite life-cycle stages had, on average, between 4.2 and 14.2 predators. Among the food webs, as predator richness increased, the number of links exploited by trophically transmitted parasites increased at about the same rate as did the number of links where these stages serve as prey. On the whole, our analyses suggest that predation on parasites has important consequences for both predators and parasites, and food web structure. Because our analysis is solely based on topological webs, determining the strength of these interactions is a promising avenue for future research.

  2. Using Stable Isotope Mixing in a Great Lakes Coastal Tributary to Determine Food Web Linkages in Young Fishes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our objectives were to determine whether we can detect a stable isotope gradient along the river-Great Lake hydrologic continuum in a coastal river and use it to identify changes across this gradient in the food web supporting young-of-year (YOY) and juvenile fish production. We ...

  3. Using Stable Isotope Mixing in a Great Lakes Coastal Tributary to Determine Food Web Linkages in Young Fishes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our objectives were to determine whether we can detect a stable isotope gradient along the river-Great Lake hydrologic continuum in a coastal river and use it to identify changes across this gradient in the food web supporting young-of-year (YOY) and juvenile fish production. We ...

  4. Change Management Meets Web 2.0

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gale, Doug

    2008-01-01

    Web 2.0 is the term used to describe a group of web-based creativity, information-sharing, and collaboration tools including wikis, blogs, social networks, and folksonomies. The common thread in all of these tools is twofold: They enable collaboration and information sharing, and their impact on higher education has been dramatic. A recent study…

  5. Change Management Meets Web 2.0

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gale, Doug

    2008-01-01

    Web 2.0 is the term used to describe a group of web-based creativity, information-sharing, and collaboration tools including wikis, blogs, social networks, and folksonomies. The common thread in all of these tools is twofold: They enable collaboration and information sharing, and their impact on higher education has been dramatic. A recent study…

  6. Assessing the trophic position and ecological role of squids in marine ecosystems by means of food-web models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coll, Marta; Navarro, Joan; Olson, Robert J.; Christensen, Villy

    2013-10-01

    We synthesized available information from ecological models at local and regional scales to obtain a global picture of the trophic position and ecological role of squids in marine ecosystems. First, static food-web models were used to analyze basic ecological parameters and indicators of squids: biomass, production, consumption, trophic level, omnivory index, predation mortality diet, and the ecological role. In addition, we developed various dynamic temporal simulations using two food-web models that included squids in their parameterization, and we investigated potential impacts of fishing pressure and environmental conditions for squid populations and, consequently, for marine food webs. Our results showed that squids occupy a large range of trophic levels in marine food webs and show a large trophic width, reflecting the versatility in their feeding behaviors and dietary habits. Models illustrated that squids are abundant organisms in marine ecosystems, and have high growth and consumption rates, but these parameters are highly variable because squids are adapted to a large variety of environmental conditions. Results also show that squids can have a large trophic impact on other elements of the food web, and top-down control from squids to their prey can be high. In addition, some squid species are important prey of apical predators and may be keystone species in marine food webs. In fact, we found strong interrelationships between neritic squids and the populations of their prey and predators in coastal and shelf areas, while the role of squids in open ocean and upwelling ecosystems appeared more constrained to a bottom-up impact on their predators. Therefore, large removals of squids will likely have large-scale effects on marine ecosystems. In addition, simulations confirm that squids are able to benefit from a general increase in fishing pressure, mainly due to predation release, and quickly respond to changes triggered by the environment. Squids may thus

  7. Food Web Architecture and Basal Resources Interact to Determine Biomass and Stoichiometric Cascades along a Benthic Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Guariento, Rafael D.; Carneiro, Luciana S.; Caliman, Adriano; Leal, João J. F.; Bozelli, Reinaldo L.; Esteves, Francisco A.

    2011-01-01

    Understanding the effects of predators and resources on primary producers has been a major focus of interest in ecology. Within this context, the trophic cascade concept especially concerning the pelagic zone of lakes has been the focus of the majority of these studies. However, littoral food webs could be especially interesting because base trophic levels may be strongly regulated by consumers and prone to be light limited. In this study, the availability of nutrients and light and the presence of an omnivorous fish (Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus) were manipulated in enclosures placed in a humic coastal lagoon (Cabiúnas Lagoon, Macaé – RJ) to evaluate the individual and interactive effects of resource availability (nutrients and light) and food web configuration on the biomass and stoichiometry of periphyton and benthic grazers. Our findings suggest that light and nutrients interact to determine periphyton biomass and stoichiometry, which propagates to the consumer level. We observed a positive effect of the availability of nutrients on periphytic biomass and grazers' biomass, as well as a reduction of periphytic C∶N∶P ratios and an increase of grazers' N and P content. Low light availability constrained the propagation of nutrient effects on periphyton biomass and induced higher periphytic C∶N∶P ratios. The effects of fish presence strongly interacted with resource availability. In general, a positive effect of fish presence was observed for the total biomass of periphyton and grazer's biomass, especially with high resource availability, but the opposite was found for periphytic autotrophic biomass. Fish also had a significant effect on periphyton stoichiometry, but no effect was observed on grazers' stoichiometric ratios. In summary, we observed that the indirect effect of fish predation on periphyton biomass might be dependent on multiple resources and periphyton nutrient stoichiometric variation can affect consumers' stoichiometry. PMID:21789234

  8. Effects of experimental seaweed deposition on lizard and ant predation in an island food web.

    PubMed

    Piovia-Scott, Jonah; Spiller, David A; Schoener, Thomas W

    2011-01-28

    The effect of environmental change on ecosystems is mediated by species interactions. Environmental change may remove or add species and shift life-history events, altering which species interact at a given time. However, environmental change may also reconfigure multispecies interactions when both species composition and phenology remain intact. In a Caribbean island system, a major manifestation of environmental change is seaweed deposition, which has been linked to eutrophication, overfishing, and hurricanes. Here, we show in a whole-island field experiment that without seaweed two predators--lizards and ants--had a substantially greater-than-additive effect on herbivory. When seaweed was added to mimic deposition by hurricanes, no interactive predator effect occurred. Thus environmental change can substantially restructure food-web interactions, complicating efforts to predict anthropogenic changes in ecosystem processes.

  9. Adding and Removing Web Area Users, and Changing User Roles

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Webmasters can add users to a web area, and assign or change roles, which define the actions a user is able to take in the web area. Non-webmasters must use a request form to add users and change roles.

  10. Climate change impacts on global food security.

    PubMed

    Wheeler, Tim; von Braun, Joachim

    2013-08-02

    Climate change could potentially interrupt progress toward a world without hunger. A robust and coherent global pattern is discernible of the impacts of climate change on crop productivity that could have consequences for food availability. The stability of whole food systems may be at risk under climate change because of short-term variability in supply. However, the potential impact is less clear at regional scales, but it is likely that climate variability and change will exacerbate food insecurity in areas currently vulnerable to hunger and undernutrition. Likewise, it can be anticipated that food access and utilization will be affected indirectly via collateral effects on household and individual incomes, and food utilization could be impaired by loss of access to drinking water and damage to health. The evidence supports the need for considerable investment in adaptation and mitigation actions toward a "climate-smart food system" that is more resilient to climate change influences on food security.

  11. Watershed and Lake Influences on the Energetic Base of Coastal Wetland Food Webs across the Great Lakes Basin

    EPA Science Inventory

    This manuscript examines the responses of Great Lakes coastal wetland food webs to nutrient enrichment and identifies three classes of systems whose food webs respond differently. Or is that differentially? Anyway, coastal wetlands with relatively long hydraulic residence times ...

  12. Watershed and Lake Influences on the Energetic Base of Coastal Wetland Food Webs across the Great Lakes Basin

    EPA Science Inventory

    This manuscript examines the responses of Great Lakes coastal wetland food webs to nutrient enrichment and identifies three classes of systems whose food webs respond differently. Or is that differentially? Anyway, coastal wetlands with relatively long hydraulic residence times ...

  13. Experimentally reducing species abundance indirectly affects food web structure and robustness.

    PubMed

    Barbosa, Milton; Fernandes, G Wilson; Lewis, Owen T; Morris, Rebecca J

    2017-03-01

    Studies on the robustness of ecological communities suggest that the loss or reduction in abundance of individual species can lead to secondary and cascading extinctions. However, most such studies have been simulation-based analyses of the effect of primary extinction on food web structure. In a field experiment we tested the direct and indirect effects of reducing the abundance of a common species, focusing on the diverse and self-contained assemblage of arthropods associated with an abundant Brazilian shrub, Baccharis dracunculifolia D.C. (Asteraceae). Over a 5-month period we experimentally reduced the abundance of Baccharopelma dracunculifoliae (Sternorrhyncha: Psyllidae), the commonest galling species associated with B. dracunculifolia, in 15 replicate plots paired with 15 control plots. We investigated direct effects of the manipulation on parasitoids attacking B. dracunculifoliae, as well as indirect effects (mediated via a third species or through the environment) on 10 other galler species and 50 associated parasitoid species. The experimental manipulation significantly increased parasitism on B. dracunculifoliae in the treatment plots, but did not significantly alter either the species richness or abundance of other galler species. Compared to control plots, food webs in manipulated plots had significantly lower values of weighted connectance, interaction evenness and robustness (measured as simulated tolerance to secondary extinction), even when B. dracunculifoliae was excluded from calculations. Parasitoid species were almost entirely specialized to individual galler species, so the observed effects of the manipulation on food web structure could not have propagated via the documented trophic links. Instead, they must have spread either through trophic links not included in the webs (e.g. shared predators) or non-trophically (e.g. through changes in habitat availability). Our results highlight that the inclusion of both trophic and non

  14. Trophic levels and trophic tangles: the prevalence of omnivory in real food webs.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Ross M; Hemberg, Martin; Starzomski, Brian M; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2007-03-01

    The concept of trophic levels is one of the oldest in ecology and informs our understanding of energy flow and top-down control within food webs, but it has been criticized for ignoring omnivory. We tested whether trophic levels were apparent in 58 real food webs in four habitat types by examining patterns of trophic position. A large proportion of taxa (64.4%) occupied integer trophic positions, suggesting that discrete trophic levels do exist. Importantly however, the majority of those trophic positions were aggregated around integer values of 0 and 1, representing plants and herbivores. For the majority of the real food webs considered here, secondary consumers were no more likely to occupy an integer trophic position than in randomized food webs. This means that, above the herbivore trophic level, food webs are better characterized as a tangled web of omnivores. Omnivory was most common in marine systems, rarest in streams, and intermediate in lakes and terrestrial food webs. Trophic-level-based concepts such as trophic cascades may apply to systems with short food chains, but they become less valid as food chains lengthen.

  15. Modelling food-web mediated effects of hydrological variability and environmental flows.

    PubMed

    Robson, Barbara J; Lester, Rebecca E; Baldwin, Darren S; Bond, Nicholas R; Drouart, Romain; Rolls, Robert J; Ryder, Darren S; Thompson, Ross M

    2017-11-01

    Environmental flows are designed to enhance aquatic ecosystems through a variety of mechanisms; however, to date most attention has been paid to the effects on habitat quality and life-history triggers, especially for fish and vegetation. The effects of environmental flows on food webs have so far received little attention, despite food-web thinking being fundamental to understanding of river ecosystems. Understanding environmental flows in a food-web context can help scientists and policy-makers better understand and manage outcomes of flow alteration and restoration. In this paper, we consider mechanisms by which flow variability can influence and alter food webs, and place these within a conceptual and numerical modelling framework. We also review the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to modelling the effects of hydrological management on food webs. Although classic bioenergetic models such as Ecopath with Ecosim capture many of the key features required, other approaches, such as biogeochemical ecosystem modelling, end-to-end modelling, population dynamic models, individual-based models, graph theory models, and stock assessment models are also relevant. In many cases, a combination of approaches will be useful. We identify current challenges and new directions in modelling food-web responses to hydrological variability and environmental flow management. These include better integration of food-web and hydraulic models, taking physiologically-based approaches to food quality effects, and better representation of variations in space and time that may create ecosystem control points. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Arthropod food webs become increasingly lipid-limited at higher trophic levels.

    PubMed

    Wilder, Shawn M; Norris, Michael; Lee, Raymond W; Raubenheimer, David; Simpson, Stephen J

    2013-07-01

    Understanding why food chains are relatively short in length has been an area of research and debate for decades. We tested if progressive changes in the nutritional content of arthropods with trophic position limit the availability of a key nutrient, lipid, for carnivores. Arthropods at higher trophic levels had progressively less lipid and more protein in their bodies compared with arthropods at lower trophic levels. The nutrients present in arthropod bodies were directly related to the nutrients that predators extracted when feeding on those arthropods. As a consequence, nutrient assimilation shifted from lipid-biased to protein-biased as arthropods ascended trophic levels from herbivores to secondary carnivores. Successive changes in the nutritional consequences of predation may ultimately set an upper limit on the number of trophic levels in arthropod communities. Further work is needed to examine the influence of lipid and other nutrients on food web traits in a range of ecosystems. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  17. Food and beverage brands that market to children and adolescents on the internet: a content analysis of branded web sites.

    PubMed

    Henry, Anna E; Story, Mary

    2009-01-01

    To identify food and beverage brand Web sites featuring designated children's areas, assess marketing techniques present on those industry Web sites, and determine nutritional quality of branded food items marketed to children. Systematic content analysis of food and beverage brand Web sites and nutrient analysis of food and beverages advertised on these Web sites. The World Wide Web. One-hundred thirty Internet Web sites of food and beverage brands with top media expenditures based on the America's Top 2000 Brands section of Brandweek magazine's annual "Superbrands" report. A standardized content analysis rating form to determine marketing techniques used on the food and beverage brand Web sites. Nutritional analysis of food brands was conducted. Of 130 Web sites analyzed, 48% featured designated children's areas. These Web sites featured a variety of Internet marketing techniques, including advergaming on 85% of the Web sites and interactive programs on 92% of the Web sites. Branded spokescharacters and tie-ins to other products were featured on the majority of the Web sites, as well. Few food brands (13%) with Web sites that market to children met the nutrition criteria set by the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity. Nearly half of branded Web sites analyzed used designated children's areas to market food and beverages to children, 87% of which were of low nutritional quality. Nutrition professionals should advocate the use of advertising techniques to encourage healthful food choices for children.

  18. Mesozooplankton biomass and grazing in the Costa Rica Dome: amplifying variability through the plankton food web.

    PubMed

    Décima, Moira; Landry, Michael R; Stukel, Michael R; Lopez-Lopez, Lucia; Krause, Jeffrey W

    2016-03-01

    We investigated standing stocks and grazing rates of mesozooplankton assemblages in the Costa Rica Dome (CRD), an open-ocean upwelling ecosystem in the eastern tropical Pacific. While phytoplankton biomass in the CRD is dominated by picophytoplankton (<2-µm cells) with especially high concentrations of Synechococcus spp., we found high mesozooplankton biomass (∼5 g dry weight m(-2)) and grazing impact (12-50% integrated water column chlorophyll a), indicative of efficient food web transfer from primary producers to higher levels. In contrast to the relative uniformity in water-column chlorophyll a and mesozooplankton biomass, variability in herbivory was substantial, with lower rates in the central dome region and higher rates in areas offset from the dome center. While grazing rates were unrelated to total phytoplankton, correlations with cyanobacteria (negative) and biogenic SiO2 production (positive) suggest that partitioning of primary production among phytoplankton sizes contributes to the variability observed in mesozooplankton metrics. We propose that advection of upwelled waters away from the dome center is accompanied by changes in mesozooplankton composition and grazing rates, reflecting small changes within the primary producers. Small changes within the phytoplankton community resulting in large changes in the mesozooplankton suggest that the variability in lower trophic level dynamics was effectively amplified through the food web.

  19. Local adaptation to temperature conserves top-down control in a grassland food web.

    PubMed

    Barton, Brandon T

    2011-10-22

    A fundamental limitation in many climate change experiments is that tests represent relatively short-term 'shock' experiments and so do not incorporate the phenotypic plasticity or evolutionary change that may occur during the gradual process of climate change. However, capturing this aspect of climate change effects in an experimental design is a difficult challenge that few studies have accomplished. I examined the effect of temperature and predator climate history in food webs composed of herbaceous plants, generalist grasshopper herbivores and spider predators across a natural 4.8°C temperature gradient spanning 500 km in northeastern USA. In these grasslands, the effects of rising temperatures on the plant community are indirect and arise via altered predator-herbivore interactions. Experimental warming had no direct effect on grasshoppers, but reduced predation risk effects by causing spiders from all study sites to seek thermal refuge lower in the plant canopy. However, spider thermal tolerance corresponded to spider origin such that spiders from warmer study sites tolerated higher temperatures than spiders from cooler study sites. As a consequence, the magnitude of the indirect effect of spiders on plants did not differ along the temperature gradient, although a reciprocal transplant experiment revealed significantly different effects of spider origin on the magnitude of top-down control. These results suggest that variation in predator response to warming may maintain species interactions and associated food web processes when faced with long term, chronic climate warming.

  20. Mesozooplankton biomass and grazing in the Costa Rica Dome: amplifying variability through the plankton food web

    PubMed Central

    Décima, Moira; Landry, Michael R.; Stukel, Michael R.; Lopez-Lopez, Lucia; Krause, Jeffrey W.

    2016-01-01

    We investigated standing stocks and grazing rates of mesozooplankton assemblages in the Costa Rica Dome (CRD), an open-ocean upwelling ecosystem in the eastern tropical Pacific. While phytoplankton biomass in the CRD is dominated by picophytoplankton (<2-µm cells) with especially high concentrations of Synechococcus spp., we found high mesozooplankton biomass (∼5 g dry weight m−2) and grazing impact (12–50% integrated water column chlorophyll a), indicative of efficient food web transfer from primary producers to higher levels. In contrast to the relative uniformity in water-column chlorophyll a and mesozooplankton biomass, variability in herbivory was substantial, with lower rates in the central dome region and higher rates in areas offset from the dome center. While grazing rates were unrelated to total phytoplankton, correlations with cyanobacteria (negative) and biogenic SiO2 production (positive) suggest that partitioning of primary production among phytoplankton sizes contributes to the variability observed in mesozooplankton metrics. We propose that advection of upwelled waters away from the dome center is accompanied by changes in mesozooplankton composition and grazing rates, reflecting small changes within the primary producers. Small changes within the phytoplankton community resulting in large changes in the mesozooplankton suggest that the variability in lower trophic level dynamics was effectively amplified through the food web. PMID:27275033